I love counselling; really...I can talk for hours about anything to do with me, cause that's what I like to do. You give me some of your time, and I'll bend your ear.
I particularly like counselling because it gives me an opportunity to vent, let off steam, hear my words ricocheting around that cavern of mine and I get to gain some insight into what I'm doing or feeling.
I've been a client for many decades, so I have intimate, lived experience of how the process worked and tried all sorts of modalities and practitioners to overcome the crippling anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation I used to live with for most of my life.
I share that snippet because it's relevant to what I'm going to talk about here...which is about helping clients who a) can't access their past for whatever reason and b) customers that have done so much talking without any real change that they're over talking and wanting something else.
Personally, I live with dissociative amnesia, and for the most part, I've not got access to much of my early decades on this planet. It used to frustrate me no end, and I'd be constantly seeking someone who could help me remember, not knowing that the hidden memories were keeping me safe.
But I digress. I'm one of those people who love talking but find that all that talking therapy doesn't really get to the heart of why I do the things I do...the crazy making behaviours and actions that would frustrate relationships, activities and so on.
I love cycling, and hubby and I decided we'd go and enter the Peter Mac Cancer ride, the one that does 100km in a weekend, Mornington to Melbourne or something. Fantastic! We bought each other flash new bikes and away we rolled.
Except it wasn't as fun as I thought it would be.
I was terrified.
Every time I got on that gorgeous bike, I'd feel as if my heart was in my mouth and I'd be having anxiety the entire ride, no matter where we were riding. Oh boy, riding along the Yarra was a particular nightmare that gave me palpitations as I cycled and created a lot of tension between hubby and me - he thought I was a drama queen out for attention!
And I shouldn't forget to tell you that I couldn't ride on the edge of the road like every other good cyclist...noooooo....I had to have hubby, bless his cotton socks, ride beside me like a warrior, protecting me from the edge of the road. I kid you not. That's how bad it was for me. And even with hubby there, I'd more often than not veer to the centre of the road. You can understand why all our training and riding occurred on quiet back roads with little traffic!
I know I gave hubby intense heartburn as he rode with me.
By this stage, I'd done my Resource Therapy training, and I had the opportunity to be what I call a 'crash test dummy' in an advanced training class.
I love being a client in training...best therapy sessions EVER!
So, this day, I get my hand up and say 'I'd like to change the fear I have when I ride my bike'.
Up I go, and away we go...
So, what happened?
Well, Resource Therapy is a parts therapy, borne out of Ego State Therapy, which works on the basis that the personality is composed of parts, and each is a valid entity within the individual, able to be an active participant in the therapeutic process.
So this day, Gordon (Prof. Gordon Emmerson, my trainer and developer of Resource Therapy), starts to work with a part of me called Protector.
Gordon asks Protector: 'what is your role, what do you do for Lisa?' and Protector says 'I keep her safe'.
Gordon then asks 'and how do you do that, Protector?' to which Protector responds with 'by keeping her afraid'.
'Is that working for Lisa, Protector?'...'no, I guess it's not'.
Protector was assisted in finding a new role within the constellation of parts that make up me, Lisa, and decided that it would prefer only to come out when it was necessary to keep me safe, really safe, from harm.
Is that the end of the story? Not by a long shot!
We get back on the bikes a few months later and I had no fear, and in fact over time my seat went from being at it's very lowest setting to one that was about 6 inches higher by the time we finished. I'd finally released that fear; the crippling fear that had kept me trapped within myself.
And, that's not all that single session did for me.
It turns out Protector had been more active than just the cycling. Protector had been a very busy part of my life, stopping me from snorkelling, scuba diving and so on.
Eight months after that session I was able to do my first ocean snorkel - yep, jumping (or in my case nervously sliding) off a boat into the water so dark it looked like ink; scared, nervous, afraid, but not terrified and having anxiety so crippling that I couldn't function.
And then the penultimate test of all, scuba diving! I aced the pool class and then went on to do three ocean dives. I wasn't without nervousness or anxiety, but it was appropriate caution and nervousness, not the overwhelming fear inducing panic I'd always experienced beforehand.
I truly felt as if a weight had lifted off my shoulders as I recognised for the first time just what it felt like to have normal apprehension and not paralysing fear.
I'd experienced what my clients experience; a transformation and understanding of just how normal it is to live without fear and panic. How utterly amazing it was and it's changed my life forever. I do things now that I'd never have done before. All from one session.
As I said earlier, I love counselling, but for deep, lasting and transformative change, Resource Therapy is by far, in my mind, the most complete modality a therapist has at their disposal.
Do they drive you as mad as they do me?
I love getting free stuff, my inbox is proof of that, with over 6000 unread emails from all the blogs I signed up for but never read after the interest of the initial article.
I've signed up to get free 'amazing, this'll change your life' ebooks that I've never read and aren't likely to either.
How about you? Have you gotten sick of signing up and getting an inbox full of stuff you'll probably never read again?
If you're really quiet about this, I have a tip that works for me and I'm sure it'll work for you too.
Can't remember where I read it, but it goes like this...
...search your inbox for the word 'unsubscribe'.
Are you getting an idea of where I'm going with this? I bet you are!
We all know to delete the non-legit spam, the viagra and assorted sexual promises made in those horribly intrusive emails that arrive from some site that got our details from a darknet email auction service where your email addy was harvested from, say, Myspace, or Ashley Madison, or maybe even Linkedin.
But what about the stuff we signed up for and then promptly ignored?
Well, doing that little search function allows you to see, at a glance, all your blogs, feeds and the like that you were dead sure you'd love to keep receiving...I put my hand up here as well...guilty as charged!
You can go through each one, hit unsubscribe, and be done with that legitimately signed up for email alert you no longer need.
It's like spring cleaning your wardrobe after you've lost weight.
It feels great...just make sure to keep the weight, and the email sign-ups, to a manageable amount.
Supervision is a critical part of any practitioners set up, yet how do we find the right one for our practice or type of modality?
You can start by contacting associations that are aligned with the pathway or modality you want to take, for instance, getting a supervisor who does generalist work might not be a good fit if you wanted to specialise in family or couples counselling.
This doesn't have to be the case, but it helps if your supervisor understands the work you do. It's a bonus, not necessity.
Ask therapists you know in the field in which you work for referrals.
Then, interview potential supervisors. Supervision is not counselling, and you will be challenged and stretched professionally, so you want to connect with a person that has a good feel about them - this is gut intuition, but if you feel uncomfortable, the relationship may falter.
Does your supervisor negotiate a contract of supervision with you? Is it a formal process?
Supervision should be conducted in a formal manner. It's not about being friends with your supervisor.
Does your supervisor motivate, enthuse, support, nurture, guide and instruct you?
Supervision is a process of ongoing insight and self awareness, being challenged and feeling safe in exploring doubts and insecurities.
Does your supervisor make you feel safe?
Supervision is your safe place in which to explore how your work is going, how you manage your practice, your record keeping, professional development and all the fears, doubts and insecurities you might have.
Does your supervisor have professional boundaries?
Your supervisor is not there to be your friend. Their obligation to act as your supervisor has legal ramifications for their own practice.
Supervisors have their own supervisors...it's a chain of support, education and ongoing guidance and professional development.
The right supervisor can be a great benefit to the newly established practitioner...take your time to find the right one for you.
Lisa is the Founder of Networking Therapists in Private Practice. A forum where practitioners wanting to be in private practice can share their knowledge, wisdom and insight to assist others in their journey.
Lisa also has her own practice at www.loving-therapy.com