Thursday, 13 June 2013

Finger pointing at the moon.

As a psychodynamic counsellor, I feel something of a dilemma. What can I say about what therapy is about; or what it might be like for any of my clients? People may be looking for reassurance or some idea of what it might entail. That seems fair enough, but in practice not so easy. Therapy is such an individual thing; and what is important is how each individual experiences it; and what they can learn from that experience.

Stepping stones across the waterThere are many therapeutic approaches but the psychodynamic approach involves helping the client feel comfortable and safe enough to talk about whatever is bothering them. It also presumes that people are not necessarily aware of what is underlying how they feel.

This means that I cannot say ahead of time exactly what it will be like. Individual therapy involves two people, both therapist and client, and their interactions through therapy. It's not a taught course, written ahead of time, but authentic interaction between two people. It unfolds in real time. That's part of what makes it therapy.
Given this, counselling may feel like a step into the unknown. It may understandably feel scary. Making it feel safe enough for the client is therefore very important. It can be a challenging process but also it can be very rewarding and satisfying when changes do take place.
I can't therefore specify exactly what therapy might be like, but I can hopefully indicate something of what it is. This seems to me a bit like the idea of a finger pointing at the moon. You don't look at the tip of the finger, but at the direction in which it's pointing. It's a way of doing things, but exactly how you get there is something to be discovered as you go along the way, with the support and encouragement of the therapist - an excursion into new territory from a safe place.