“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”
--- John Donne (1624) Meditation XVII
In my experience, open and honest communication is an essential part of therapy because it is fundamental to establishing trust with your counsellor. One question I would encourage you to ask your counsellor is, “Are you in therapy, or do you have a support network?” The answer will give you an insight into the view that the therapist takes of him or herself. I believe the answer should be “yes” because it facilitates self-reflection, which is a skill that all counsellors should develop and refine. Self-reflection is important for me because it helps me to make sense of the layers of thinking and feeling that I have around my work. If I can understand the rationale behind a particular train of thought, or I can make sense of a recurring feeling, then I can devote more attention towards establishing empathic connections with my clients, when I am less distracted by my own unprocessed thoughts and feelings. I believe in a way of living that is centred on empathy and active care for one’s self and one’s community.
Most importantly, being a client gives me an experiential reminder of what it is like for my clients to be clients. I am reminded that the goal of self-development is to maximise my self-awareness and, by extension, awareness of the choices available to me at the moment. Of course, the moment changes, tomorrow is another day, the future will be different from the present in a way that cannot be pre-determined, and the present will be thrown into perspective by the future. The process of continually re-discovering the nature of one’s self and appraising the quality of one’s relationships with others is therefore something that must continue for a lifetime.
30th June 2018