Making space

English: Calmness of lake

English: Calmness of lake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My therapist said to me the other day something about how she was ‘in the room with me’ before my session with her (which intrigues me, as I get there first). She said it in a way that made me suspect that I should know what she was talking about. So I didn’t admit it, but put it away to think about.




And I realised that I do do it. I just didn’t realise until recently. A few weeks ago I was really tired before seeing clients. I was worried, because the LAST time I’d been that tired, I’d really struggled in the session. i HAD been present, and i HAD stayed with my client, but I had had to work much harder to do it. I was worried that I was going to have much the same experience again, but I was surprised to see this time, that actually I hadn’t noticed the tiredness during client times, although it had come back afterwards. My therapist’s words made me think on ‘why’, and the conclusion I came to was that the first time, I hadn’t been able to take much time before arriving where my placement is, and the seeing of my client, and what time I had was used in setting up the room and making the space needed (my room is a multi-purpose room). So i had little time to sit and ‘be’ with my client before they had got to the room. Thus I was still trying to calm when my client came in, and I was trying to ‘be’, and be present, and do so many things at once. It is no wonder I was tired! This time round however, I sat for a few minutes and acknowledged that I was tired, but took the space to be and be with my client, before my clients came for the evening. Altogether a different experience, and now, I make sure I do this every time. Just take time to remember where they were, how they seemed, what they were saying, whilst still holding in my head the fact that they may come in completely differently this time, but essentially, just calling up the feeling of what it was like to be in the room with each client, just before they came in.




I find I have to take space before and after. Afterwards I do something else (like play a number puzzle on my phone) for 5 minutes, to let my head continue processing anything it needs, and then I make the notes that I need to, but I can’t do it straight away. Perhaps this will change  as i get more practised, I don’t know. But for the moment, I have set up my placement hours to have extra space between then (1.15minute intervals, rather than 1hr intervals) so that I have the space I need.


I am intrigued that Zemanta, which finds relevant posts for me, based on the words I’ve used in my post, is suggesting lots of mindfulness links. Mindfulness isn’t something I’ve consciously practised, but it is something I’ve been reading more about (often with other names) recently






2 thoughts on “Making space

  1. Paul Colley says:

    Interesting. I rarely do this (or maybe I just do my version of this – I can’t decide), but I’m aware it seems to be a kind of ‘best practice’ (or something). Meeting the historical client in advance of the client-in-the-moment doesn’t sound like something I would do systematically, although I would find it quite natural and understandable in myself if I found my thoughts increasingly going to (and perhaps even focusing on) the person who is about to arrive the nearer the appointed hour approaches. I feel almost unprofessional in saying this, but I wouldn’t bundle a chaotic me into any kind of psychic cubby-hole, or ‘relax’ or ‘centre’ myself or anything but be as fully aware as I can be of all that is flowing through me and I guess this is something like a kind of reality/congruence check in advance of a client’s arrival. Mostly I’ll find myself ‘fit to practice’ in those moments, sometimes I’ll find something in myself that I might even mention in those first moments with my client when they arrive (if I think it might colour their experience of me in some way).

    There has been a lot mindfulness-related material circulating in counselling and psychotherapeutic circles in recent times – witness the recent Taylor & Francis bundle I think I’ve been deliberately ignoring it, tbh.

    • Hi Paul,

      I’m not sure that I meet with my historical client, more.. I often use a ‘people as colours’ analogy for various life situations I am in. So: I’m blue, you’re red, client one is yellow etc. And what seems to happen is that before the client comes in, I find it easier if I have brought to mind my blueness and their ‘yellowness’. Not specifics; not ‘I must remember, last week the client said X thing, or Y thing’, more ‘yellow client is coming. Ah; yellow client’ – I also consider our greeness. And that’s about as far as it goes. I also think that there is a lot of what you are saying – being aware of what is happening in and around me. Is this mindfulness? I don’t know. I haven’t looked at the mindfulness stuff either tbh. I have not yet been able to get on with anything selling itself as mindfulness, although I am positive that if I looked into it, some of the stuff I am reading/taking in OUTSIDE of academic papers or ‘apps to make you mindful’ would probably be classed as such. 🙂

      Whilst I am here – would you please check out today’s blog, which will go up later. You may not be interested in it after reading, but this is a plea in advance to read it and consider that you are one of the people that I am asking the question of (all good!)

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