Today was the last day of the “Introduction to Counselling”, an intensive 5 day Summer School course at La Trobe University. Sleep was fairly interrupted last night so I wasn’t quite “with it” today. Even so, things went pretty well since we did a couple of drawing activities today based around a moment in our lives when we had made the decision to undertake change. The content of the ocassion did not need to be shared, we just had to represent in image the feelings, dynamics, impressions and memories of this point.

We also discussed a fair bit about identifying core issues (as opposed to summarising) and ways of introducing and exploring options.

Here’s 10 points – thoughts, quotes and observations – that I’ve brought home on day 5 of the course:

“What are we going to do with that which we have come to know?”
At some stage it is important to raise the awarenes of the client to a particular recurring theme within what the client is saying – i.e. – “The Message”
The intention of relaying the core message to the client is the acknowledgement of exploring what needs to be done – “And now…. what are we going to do about it?”
We are constantly assessing the situation in order to take its core message or themes and patterns to deliver them back as an offering or gift that can be accepted and utilised / acted upon or not, as the client wishes.
At any given time, there may be 2, 3, 4 or more core messages.
The themes or core messages may develop, change, refocus, shift and alter over time.
The process is collaborative.
Everything the counsellor thinks they know needs to be checked out with the client – it may be wrong, off the mark or the timing may be wrong.
It may be necessary, when noting to oneself that there is an alternative choice that the client has not considered, to introduce the alternative choice “gently”… e.g. – “What do you think it would be like if…?”
Making choices is not so much about taking the option that has, on balance, the majority of the best expected outcomes, as deciding on the option which contains the set of potential negative outcomes or losses you feel you are most willing to deal with and accept.

Guest post courtesy of Colin Read,

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