My 2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

i don’t normally do this kind of thing, but I liked what it said and how it said it and thought I would take the time to post and say thank you for reading. Gaining new followers and readers is still really exciting to me even after a year. I hope soon to make it to 100 followers, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is to me. Thank you.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

counselling: what’s the point?


A client recently asked me at a counselling assessment: “what’s the point of counselling?’ and I think that whatever answer I gave wasn’t good enough, as I never saw them again.


As a question, it caught me off guard; a client has not asked me that before. As a client, I have answers, and I suspect that’s where I went wrong; I was trying to reply from my own point of view, without making my answer ABOUT me. The resulting amount of hesitation probably suggested to the client that there was no point, and that’s a shame. So I thought I’d put it out here – my own real answer on why, so that next time I’m asked, I do have some kind of answer.

Counselling (in my opinion), especially in the person-centered world, where we don’t aim to give any advice, or tell you what to do or think or direct you at all, is a space that is just for you. It gives you a non-judgemental person who is skilled (or at least *trained*) in the art of listening (rather than waiting for the pause so they can speak). Counselling gives a place for reflection, and a place to talk things out. Whilst as counsellors we don’t usually give advice we are able to reflect back nuances in things that clients tell us, and clients often don’t even realise they’ve said it (many is the time I’ve echoed part of what a client has said and the ‘I hadn’t thought of it like that’ always surprises me, as I had thought that I am reflecting their thoughts).


So it’s space; it’s a place to be heard; it’s a place of reflection.


It’s also a place to test things out. To look at future options and test them with the counsellor – to look at hypothetical situations: ‘what would my life look like if I tried X action?’ ‘How would it feel if I thought about Y?’

It’s a safe place – a place you can be the best of yourself, and the worst of yourself (unless of course, it involves harm to a minor, or terrorism or money-laundering), and not be judged. Even if it did involve those things, there is still no judgement (so we strive for), but there may be a breaking of boundaries.


It’s yours, and no-one else’s. Above all, it is for you to make what you wish of it.



My apologies for no blog last week – I was at a conference and I thought I would write it on the 3hour train trip home, but as it happened I was too ill to write, and the moment passed.

This week, it seems to me to be relevant to write about counselling narrative arcs, as I’ve experienced it both as a client and as a therapist.


A few weeks ago I’d been talking about something fairly in-depth with my therapist and the week after when she came in, I made a comment that was completely unexpected to her and unrelated to my arc. She was visibly surprised and commented that whatever she had expected me to say, that was not it (and let’s face it; she’s heard some fairly unexpected things from me!). It absolutely wasn’t a problem, and was lovely to hear that I had been unexpected (as opposed to the poker-faced therapist, which she isn’t usually anyway).


But it made me think about my own client work. Clients often come with stories, and ongoing situations, and their ‘stuff’ is a continuation of the week before, or at least has relevance to it. Much like the time I learnt that you never make throw-away comments in the corridor in case it has relevance for a client, I do objectively know not to expect my clients to follow particular arcs. In practice however.. A few months ago, a client had an important interview coming up that she was worried about. I had wholly expected the session to be about that interview and how it had gone, and i ALMOST made a throwaway comment about it in the corridor (but decided not to). I was glad, because as we sat down and she started to talk, it became clear that given the multitude of other things that had happened to her that week, the interview was actually the lowest thing on her radar. In fact, as she opened her mouth and delivered her first sentence to me, I felt very much as I suspect my own therapist felt; I was not expecting THAT.


And you’ll wonder perhaps where the ‘hospitality’ comes in? It is a concept from Derrida. The law of hospitality is to ‘expect anything’ and I like that very much. Invite in what comes, and accept whatever that is. He says however that although that is all you need, that humans are good at overlaying that with ‘the laws of hospitality’. Those laws- things we ‘must/should’ do, detract from the LAW of hospitality.


I read this as a concept when I was researching for something else, and it strikes me that it sits very well with counselling and psychotherapy. Clearly here, I have let my laws of hospitality overwrite the law, and thus I almost subject my client to a less than hospitable welcome, so concerned am I with the laws of hospitality and ‘getting it right’.


Over the xmas break (haha – I have 25 undergraduate papers to mark and my own dissertation proposal to submit) I want to read more on Derrida and hospitality and see if I can get something published on it. Watch this space.


Spotlight on: person-centred onlineness



English: see

English: see for more information. Italiano: visita questo gruppo su facebook per maggiori informazioni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This month’s spotlight is on internet person-centred-related things that I know of.


Firstly, there’s twitter. Lots of person-centered people on there. Too many to put, but feel free to comment with your twitter handle and I’ll add you here. You’re welcome to add me: @traineemusings


Then there are some facebook groups – some of these are counselling (inc person-centered) and some just/mostly PC: the trainee group I run. Specifically for person-centered trainees – a group for any trainee counsellors PC counselling and focusing Group for the association of PC counsellors (I don’t think you have to be a member to join, although I am) Counselling and psychotherapy networking (anyone) Pink therapy – anyone


There will be more groups that I’m not aware of. Please feel free to link any that I haven’t put up!


Email lists:!forum/pca-students Person-centered students!forum/coventrypcgroup Group for person-centered counsellors around Coventry Encounter group – a smaller group for PC people, based on the face-to-face encounter situations.

There’s a pc-international list also, but I can’t find the web link to it. I will update when I get it.

Other resources will follow as and when, but please feel free to comment with any links you have! 🙂