In between clients the other day, (actually, a dna and I had time before my next client) I was out in the garden at my placement. I’m blessed with beautiful grounds that I can wander alone in as I counsel in the evenings. I looked at my car that was parked. Noticed the bangs and dents, scratches on the paintwork. A few years of wear and tear, bumps and scrapes along the way. The car belonged to a friend, and I was very fortunate in that he gifted it to me. Bumps and all. As I looked at the dents and scratches and thought about how much it might cost to get these things removed, it struck me that Counselling is a lot like an MOT. When we take our car in the garage, we hand it over to the expert, who takes time to look at the wear and tear, they listen to the cars life over the last year and begin to take care of it, repair some of the damage, tweak it here and there in order to build it up into a state where it is safe to go back on the road. Sometimes it looks better, cleaner and shinier, sometimes, the dents and scrapes aren’t as easy to repair,and then I question whether I want it all shiny and new. I mean the car is a few years old and I know that’s my car because of the dent at the back and the scratch on the panel, and then I’m asking myself “who cares what it looks like on the outside?”
Sometimes I remember that when clients come for counselling, they’re bringing in their past, their wear and tear and sometimes it’s easy to see the dents, the bumps and scrapes. Sometimes they’re painfully obvious, sometimes I have to be like the mechanic and listen to their journey to see where some of the damage happened, and then I try to use my skill, listening, reflecting, and let them begin to see what needs repairing, tweaking here and there so that they can go back on the road, knowing that it’s safe to drive, that they know which way they’re going and although future journeys will have an impact too, having a sense of direction, and understanding of emotional maintenance can build resilience. And those bumps, scrapes, dents and scratches…. Sometimes they stay visible, and sometimes they help make a person more whole.
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hi there. I’m Paul Cullen. A Thirsk Counsellor registered with the BACP. I’m interested in all aspects of mental health and well-being and feel it’s important that we each find our way to our own journey.
Originally a Lancashire Lad, I know live in my adopted county of North Yorkshire, with my family.
Have a mentally healthy day.