Counselling and More
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Defining Moments For Therapists

Defining Moments For Therapists | Counselling and More |
If therapy is a relational process, it takes a person on the therapist's end. The goal of the project is to capture the therapist's evolving sense of self as it is shaped by our experiences as active participants in a creative interaction.

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Free e-book (pdf) to download or read online: ;

Ian Townsend's curator insight, May 21, 2013 4:58 AM

Well worth looking at, folks

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Person-Centred/Experiential Therapies Are Highly Effective: Summary of the 2008 Meta-analysis

Person-Centred/Experiential Therapies Are Highly Effective: Summary of the 2008 Meta-analysis | Counselling and More |

"...What are the Implications of these analyses?

In fact, these results are uniformly good news for Person-Centred/Experiential practitioners: Clients use our therapies to make large changes in themselves; these changes are maintained over time and are much larger than our clients would have experienced without therapy. Furthermore, our clients show as much change as clients seen in other therapies, including CBT, but only if bonafide Person-Centred, Process-Experiential and Other Experiential therapies were involved.

From a policy point of view these data support the proposition that Person-Centred/Experiential therapies are empirically supported by multiple lines of scientific evidence, including "gold standard" RCTs and recent very large RCT-equivalent studies in the UK (e.g., Stiles et al., 2006, 2007). This body of research suggests that the NICE Guidelines need to be updated, and that PCE therapies should be offered to clients in primary care, NHS, and other mental health settings. Relying on multiple lines of evidence, such as provided in the present study, provides a sound basis for establishing public mental health policy. The shortfall in the availability of psychological therapy in the NHS could be instantly resolved if health authorities were to draw upon the large body of trained Person-Centred counsellors and psychotherapists throughout the UK.

For those of us in the PCE tradition, the moral of this story is that we do not need to be afraid of quantitative either outcome research or RCTs. However, if we let others define our reality by studying watered-down versions of what we do, we are going to be in trouble. For this reason, it is imperative that PCE therapists do our own outcome research - including RCTs -- on legitimate versions of our therapies. As Carl Rogers said, "The facts are friendly."..."

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Empathy and life

Empathy and life | Counselling and More |

"...For many people the denial of the inevitability of death means a denial of their emotional life, because dealing with the emotions means entering a world unknown, a world of darkness. Wilson van Dusen (“The Natural Depth in Man”, in Rogers and Stevens, Person to Person Souvenir Press, 1973) wrote of the “inner me”, which he also called l'autre moi , which is distinctly different from the “outer me” and includes “spontaneous associations of thought which arise unbidden when in a social context or alone.” Van Dusen pointed out that “The border of the inner is reached when spontaneous thoughts, feelings, or images arise, perhaps related to the outer situation at hand, but still autonomously surprising in their nature.” Empathy starts here. Daniel Goleman in his great book Emotional Intelligence (Bloomsbury, 1996), wrote, “Empathy builds on self-awareness; the more open we are to our own emotions, the more skilled we will be in reading feelings.”


This is precisely what we have difficulty with. Carl Rogers, in his essay “What it Means to Become a Person” (in On Becoming a Person , Houghton Mifflin, 1995), wrote, “In our daily lives there are a thousand and one reasons for not letting ourselves experience our attitudes fully, reasons from our past and from the present, reasons that reside within the social situation. It seems too dangerous, too potentially damaging, to experience them freely and fully.” And so we immerse ourselves in many avoidance strategies, like the pursuit of efficiency, money, status, power, ideological commitment, sex, ways to fill “the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1: 28). Using these avoidance strategies blunts our sensitivity to not only our own feelings, but those of others. Goleman again: “The emotional notes and chords that weave through people's words and actions – the telling tone of voice or shift in posture, the eloquent silence or telltale tremble – go by unnoted.” Goleman continues: “This failure to register another's feelings is a major deficit in emotional intelligence, and a tragic failing in what it means to be human. For all rapport, the root of caring, stems from emotional attunement, from the capacity for empathy.”..."

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The Importance of Naming Your Emotions

The Importance of Naming Your Emotions | Counselling and More |

"...So what’s the value of getting people to express what they’re actually feeling, rather than keeping things relentlessly light and bland? The answer is that naming our emotions tends to diffuse their charge and lessen the burden they create. The psychologist Dan Siegel refers to this practice as “name it to tame it.”

It’s also true that we can’t change what we don’t notice. Denying or avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away, nor does it lessen their impact on us, even if it’s unconscious. Noticing and naming emotions gives us the chance to take a step back and make choices about what to do with them.


Emotions are just a form of energy, forever seeking expression. Paradoxically, sharing what we’re feeling in simple terms helps us to better contain and manage even the most difficult emotions. By naming them out loud, we are effectively taking responsibility for them, making it less likely that they will spill out at the expense of others over the course of a day...."

Julianna Bonola's curator insight, April 20, 1:32 AM

According to the well known psychologist Dan Siegel, naming our emotions tends to diffuse their charge and lessen the burden they create.  Soooooo “name it to tame it.”

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Would truthfulness about therapy make it less effective?*

Would truthfulness about therapy make it less effective?* | Counselling and More |

"...The effectiveness of the treatments is not in doubt. The question is: how do they work? The tension arises because different versions of therapy sign up to different theories about how therapy achieves this success.

“If you go to a psychoanalytic therapist, they may engage you in some form of putative insight therapy by ‘excavating’ your earlier life to ask how it might be that you are depressed or anxious. If you visit a cognitive behavioural therapist, or some version thereof, your personal history will be irrelevant. Rather they’ll ask you to question your thinking ‘style’ and attempt to ‘cognitively restructure’ your mind.”
What does the research suggest is most effective? “One theory that carries serious clout within scientific research is that it is the factors that are common to different versions of psychotherapy that are the real engine of treatment. And most importantly that includes the relationship between the therapist and their patient.

“It is claimed the essence of therapy is the therapist: the provision of empathy and positive regard shown by the therapist is the most significant factor in improving outcome.

“So it’s not the techniques they use, per se, but the rapport between patient and therapist that’s really important. More than 300 studies have found less than 1 per cent of the variation in outcome between patients is due to the specific techniques of therapy..."

* Original title: Unthinkable: Is psychotherapy a licence to deceive?

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The Best Advice a Therapist Could Get? Stop Giving Advice

The Best Advice a Therapist Could Get? Stop Giving Advice | Counselling and More |

"...Advice giving as a therapist should be a rare thing. Here’s why.

* The person in therapy is the expert. It’s not just a business strategy, as in “the customer is always right.” Part of going to therapy is learning to trust yourself again. Sure, there’s an outside person who can help you see “the forest for the trees,” but good therapy means guiding without dictating. Ultimately—and maybe this is scary to hear—you know yourself better than anyone else, and perhaps a major reason you’re in therapy is to discover more.

*Empowerment. My wanting to give advice as a young therapist was more about me than the person in therapy. I feel like I need to be strongly on guard with respect to any kind of paternalism in my role. If I give you advice—even great, smart advice—I need to make sure I’m not taking away your growth in your own decision making. Sure, I can let you know if I think something is a really bad idea, but unless there’s a major safety issue, my main job is to guide your thinking (and feeling) through the situation. Someday, you’re probably going to not be in therapy. Am I preparing you for that?

* You’re rarely satisfied with advice. I can’t really remember a time when I gave direct advice that was really all that helpful in the long run. It was either not taken—which is fine; that’s at the other person’s discretion—or it was given because we were both avoiding something else that was going on. Meaning: maybe I gave advice to alleviate the person’s anxiety about a decision. You get advice from family and friends. You get advice from blog posts, attorneys, and trusted advisers. You don’t come to therapy to get advice. In my early days of therapy it’s been interpreted as an intrusion, an “I know you better than you know you.”

* It’s the relationship that heals. Ultimately, it’s your interaction with your therapist that provides the most healing and growth. While I might make some useful interpretations about a topic or uncover a long-hidden pattern, when asked what has been most helpful in my sessions (I think it’s important to regularly check in with a person about how we’re doing), most, children especially, say it’s that I listen and there is a space to just have feelings heard. People with anger management issues often get more out of working through their anger with me than they do from any step-by-step plans we formulate for time outside the office. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but we are relational people. It’s how we learn best.

* The last thing you need is another person telling you what to do. Let’s be honest. Before you got to therapy, you probably had a slew of wonderful advice givers: your parents, your in-laws, your partner, your friends—heck, the guy at the table next to yours. If you want advice, there are cheaper ways of getting it than going to therapy..."

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An outline of the historical development of counselling and therapy

An outline of the historical development of counselling and therapy | Counselling and More |

"...For Rogers, "self-actualization" is a natural process, yet it requires the nurturance of a caregiver. This is a contradiction in Rogers' theory, which may or may not be obvious. If "self-actualization" is merely a natural process, then why must it depend on a caregiver for it to occur? In defence of Rogers, this paradox at least shows that, despite his individualistic bias, he understood deep down that people need people, that we are radically dependent on others for our existence, and that so-called "individuation-separation" involves a more differentiated and mature relationship with others rather than a lack of interdependence with others. In any case, Rogers felt that "unconditional positive regard" is necessary for "self-actualization." That is, human growth requires the experience of being valued for oneself regardless of the degree to which specific behaviours are approved or disapproved. On the other hand, self-actualization is thwarted by "conditional positive regard" -- when acceptance is dependent on the positive or negative evaluation of a person's actions. "Conditional positive regard," Rogers felt, leads to "conditions of worth," which, in turn, can lead to alienation from true feelings and, thus, to anxiety and threat, which blocks self-actualization...."

[click on the title for the full article] 



Dimitris Tsantaris's insight:

Rogers indeed suggested that in order for the actualising tendency (not to be confused with "the tendency to actualise the Self, i.e. the self-image) to thrive unobstructed, an unconditionally loving nurturance is necessary. Yet, this is described as a critical stage in a child's development (when the child forms its self-construct, being in need of a caregiver, of its "significant others").

For an integrated adult, or, as Rogers puts it,  for the "fully functioning person", the aforementioned prerequisite of the unconditional acceptance by others becomes a necessity for unconditional SELF-acceptance. In other words, the adult becomes his/her own unconditionally loving "significant other". 

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A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain | Counselling and More |

"...As Lakoff points out, metaphors are more than mere language and literary devices, they are conceptual in nature and represented physically in the brain. As a result, such metaphorical brain circuitry can affect behavior. For example, in a study done by Yale psychologist John Bargh, participants holding warm as opposed to cold cups of coffee were more likely to judge a confederate as trustworthy after only a brief interaction. Similarly, at the University of Toronto, “subjects were asked to remember a time when they were either socially accepted or socially snubbed. Those with warm memories of acceptance judged the room to be 5 degrees warmer on the average than those who remembered being coldly snubbed. Another effect of Affection Is Warmth.” This means that we both physically and literary “warm up” to people.

The last few years have seen many complementary studies, all of which are grounded in primary experiences:

• Thinking about the future caused participants to lean slightly forward while thinking about the past caused participants to lean slightly backwards. Future is Ahead

• Squeezing a soft ball influenced subjects to perceive gender neutral faces as female while squeezing a hard ball influenced subjects to perceive gender neutral faces as male. Female is Soft

• Those who held heavier clipboards judged currencies to be more valuable and their opinions and leaders to be more important. Important is Heavy.

• Subjects asked to think about a moral transgression like adultery or cheating on a test were more likely to request an antiseptic cloth after the experiment than those who had thought about good deeds. Morality is Purity

Studies like these confirm Lakoff’s initial hunch – that our rationality is greatly influenced by our bodies in large part via an extensive system of metaphorical thought..."


[click on the title for the full article]

Jocelyn Stoller's curator insight, March 11, 7:20 PM

You are your brain and its interaction with your body

Lisa A Romano's curator insight, March 12, 5:38 PM

Psychology is a science...

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This Is Your Avatar Speaking

This Is Your Avatar Speaking | Counselling and More |

"...Virtual reality is often seen as touristic, a way to visit fantasy worlds without leaving home, but Slater believes that its most alluring application is precisely this: the chance to swap not only surroundings but also selves. “It’s a way of allowing you to step outside of your own body and experience what it’s like to be someone else for a short time,” he said. “What’s remarkable is how plastic the brain is in accepting that illusion.” He described a previous experiment in which both his lab and another group, working independently of each other, showed that, when light-skinned people inhabit a dark-skinned avatar, their implicit racial bias diminishes—although no one knows for how long the effect lasts outside the lab. Another of his illusion studies, published in the open-access journal Plos One in November, helped a group of young women boost their own self-esteem. In the first phase of that experiment, the women—college undergraduates who had scored highly for self-critical attitudes but were not in treatment or seeking therapy—were instructed to say a series of comforting things to a weeping virtual child, who was programmed to respond by looking up and drying her eyes. In the second phase, half of the women were sent back into the virtual space embodied as the child; the adult avatar said the same reassuring things, using the women’s own voices. The participants had been tricked, in other words, into treating themselves with more compassion than they could muster in the real world. And the effects of this self-soothing persisted: immediately following the experiment, the women showed a substantial reduction in self-criticism and an increase in positive affect...."

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The Fantastic Array of Neuroplasticity Mechanisms

The Fantastic Array of Neuroplasticity Mechanisms | Counselling and More |

"...Neuroplasticity, triggered by mental events, occurs in large circuits connected through many brain regions. In milliseconds, each region simultaneously uses many different neuroplasticity mechanisms. Different types of learning utilize different brain connections and very different neuroplasticity circuits and mechanisms.


The same neuron that is part of one circuit, can be part of a different circuit a millisecond later, using different synapses from the 10,000 available to that one cell. Each synapse can be part of different neuroplasticity circuits with varied mechanisms.


Neuroplasticity takes charge in situations where one type of sensory input or motor function is altered. What is the force that demands that other regions of the brain change their focus in order to be used for another purpose? What is the force and where is the direction for the woman without a cerebellum to use other brain regions as if they were a cerebellum?


Where is the center of this neuroplasticity activity? Where is the direction for these far-flung mechanisms in wide circuits all through out the brain? Thus far no brain region has been found to bring all of this activity together. Is this coordinating function the mind interacting with the brain?"

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Men do cry: one man’s experience of depression

Men do cry: one man’s experience of depression | Counselling and More |

"...A staggeringly higher number of men than women kill themselves. In the UK the ratio is 3.5:1, in Greece 6:1, in the USA 4:1. This is pretty average. According to the World Health Organisation, the only countries where more women than men kill themselves are China and Hong Kong. Everywhere else, many more men than women end their own lives. This is especially strange when, according to every study, about twice as many women experience depression.

So, clearly, in most places there is something about being a man that makes you more likely to kill yourself. And there is also a paradox. If suicide is a symptom of depression (it is), then why do more women suffer depression than men? Why, in other words, is depression more fatal if you are a man rather than a woman? The fact that suicide rates vary between eras and countries and genders shows that suicide is not set in stone for anyone. Consider the UK. In 1981, 2,466 women in the UK took their own lives. Thirty years later that number had almost halved to 1,391. The corresponding figures for men are 4,129 and then 4,590. So back in 1981, when the Office of National Statistics records began, men were still more likely to kill themselves than women, but only 1.9 times more likely. Now they are 3.5 times more likely.

Why do so many men still kill themselves? What is going wrong? The common answer is that men, traditionally, see mental illness as a sign of weakness and are reluctant to seek help. Boys don’t cry. But they do. We do. I do. I weep all the time. (I wept this afternoon, watching Boyhood.) And boys – and men – do commit suicide.

In White Noise, Don DeLillo’s anxiety-ridden narrator Jack Gladney is tormented by the concept of masculinity and how he measures up: “What could be more useless than a man who couldn’t fix a dripping faucet – fundamentally useless, dead to history, to the messages in his genes?” And what if, instead of a broken faucet it is a broken mind? Then maybe a man who was worried about his manliness would feel he should be able to fix that on his own too, with nothing but silence amid the “white noise” of modern life, and maybe a few litres of alcohol..."

[click on the title for the full article]


Lisa A Romano's curator insight, February 26, 5:00 AM

Vital to have these statistics popularised

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What is the Difference Between Psychotherapy and Counselling?

What is the Difference Between Psychotherapy and Counselling? | Counselling and More |


Both explore feelings, beliefs, and thoughts.
Both focus on creating a safe, supportive environment.
Both help you understand yourself better.
Both help you understand others better.
Both help you make better choices and move forward in life.
Both involve working with a therapist with at least three years of training.


counselling is more likely to be action and behaviour focused
counselling is more likely to be short-term
counselling is more likely to focus on your present issues over past issues
psychotherapy tends to go on longer than a round of counselling sessions
psychotherapy is more likely to be in-depth than counselling
psychotherapy is more likely to explore the past as well as the present
psychotherapy is more likely to explore childhood root issues instead of just behavioural patterns
psychotherapy means your therapist has at least four years of training
psychotherapy can deal with deep mental health problems and disorders that have developed over a long period of time

The above proposed similarities and differences aside, it’s still a murky world when it comes to comparing psychotherapy with counselling. A counsellor might work very deeply in a way that seems psychotherapeutic. A psychotherapist might offer counselling as part of a bigger treatment plan...."

[click on the title for the full article]


Lisa A Romano's curator insight, February 19, 11:00 PM

I'm often asked to explain the difference between counselling and psychology, and this makes a good start. Psychotherapy - in Australia - can be viewed as a whole different therapeutic model again as a subset of psychological practice.

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Carl Rogers on Empathy and Presence


"You've heard much in this conference about the skill of empathic listening. I simply want to underscore what has been said because I believe that it plays a large part in our future. I come to believe that a very sensitive listening is one of the most powerful forces for growth that I know.

When I can let myself enter softly and delicately, the vulnerable inner world of the other person.
When I can temporarily lay aside my views and values and prejudices.
When I can let myself be at home in the fright, the concern, the pain, the anger, the tenderness, the confusion, which fills his or her life.
When I can move about in that inner world without making judgements,.
When I can see that world with fresh unfrightened eyes.
When I can check the accuracy of my sensing's with him or her being guided by the responses I receive.

Then I can be a companion to that inner person, pointing to the felt meanings of what is being experienced. Then I find myself to be a true helper, a welcome companion, and aid to growth and help.

Listening seems such a easy word, I find it a lifetime task to achieve true listening and a task well worth the effort.

There is another very subtle factor in the healing relationship which I have experienced and that I would call presence. It is certainly known to physicians. I too have experienced this. When I am at my best as a group facilitator, or a therapist, I discover this characteristic. I find that when I am closest to my inner intuitive self, when I am somehow in touch with the unknown in me, when perhaps I am in a slightly altered state of consciousness, then what ever I do seems to be full of healing. Then simply my presence is releasing and helpful. There is nothing I can do to force this experience. But when I can relax and be close to the transcendental core of me, then I may behave in strange and impulsive ways in the relationship, ways which I can't justify rationally which have nothing to do with my thought processes. But these strange behaviors turn out to be right in some odd way. At those moments it seems that my inner spirit has reached out and touched the inner spirit of the other. Our relationship transcends itself and had become part of something larger. Profound growth and healing and energy are present."

Presentations at New World / New Person Pt. 1 2/22/81

Full audio at:

More on Rogers and Empathy at:



Via Edwin Rutsch
celine levita's curator insight, February 3, 11:49 AM

"Listening seems such a easy word, I find it a lifetime task to achieve true listening and a task well worth the effort." C Rogers.

L'écoute : une compétence à cultiver encore et encore

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Working with Children & Young People, Online Conference - Programme 2015

Dimitris Tsantaris's insight:

Temenos & onlinevents are collaborating to bring you their third one-day “Working with Children & Young People” Conference.

Delegates will be able to attend the conference FREE ONLINE – PC/LAPTOP/TABLET/PHONE

There will be eight 50-minute presentations which will include time for questions and discussion with the audience online via a chatroom.

For more check:

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Your Gut Feeling Is Way More Than Just A Feeling

Your Gut Feeling Is Way More Than Just A Feeling | Counselling and More |

"...That little voice in the back of your mind that says don’t trust them, don’t walk down that alley, don’t go to that party tonight, and think twice before investing stock, isn’t just a passing subconscious. We thrive in a culture that believes rationality and prevailing scientifically proven logic rules over the knee jerk reaction to pull out of the parking lot or investigate a partner’s alibi. There are just certain feelings humans obligatorily follow without concrete reasoning.   

A 2011 study published in the journal Psychological Science revealed how the body is able to speak intuitively to the mind by dealing out a card game. Researchers designed a game based on no obvious strategy but forced participants to rely upon their hunches. Each participant was hooked up to a heart monitor and a finger sensor to measure sweat secretion. Most players figured out how to improve and eventually win the game, and researchers realized the winners were those who listened to their heart rate. It would speed up before they made a certain choice, but people mistook the subtle bodily changes for intuition.

“We often talk about intuition coming from the body — following our gut instincts and trusting our hearts,” the study’s coauthor Barnaby D. Dunn, of the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK, said in a press release. “What happens in our bodies really does appear to influence what goes in our minds..."

[click on the title for the full article] 

Dr. J.L. Harter's curator insight, April 24, 8:18 AM

A perspective on intuition...

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Mick Cooper - The Facts are Friendly

Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy


Part 2:


Part 3:




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Stillness and Awareness from Person to Person

Stillness and Awareness from Person to Person | Counselling and More |

"...In one of his workshops, Gendlin talks of recognising "what is in there, that which is living there and is looking out through the eyes, that which somehow wants to lead a life."

Here it becomes clear how much the effect of unconditional attention depends on the genuineness of the therapist, on their being mindful, and in tune, with the sensing of their own inner life. It is remarkable that empathy was considered as the primary variable of change at the beginning of person-centred research. But it was by working with people who suffered under "early disturbances," or who were even considered schizophrenic, that the fundamental effect of genuineness also came to the fore. From a state of genuineness, unconditional regard and empathy can have a deep effect. Rogers formulated these three basic attitudes as conditions for a healing, therapeutic relationship and also as fundamental for any human relationship that promotes growth. It was only later in his life that Rogers discovered presence as a quality on its own. Today, presence is seen by Geller and Greenberg as necessary for realising the three core conditions. However, I would ask you to consider that it is in itself mindfulness practice if one practices non-judging, or unconditional, exact awareness of one's own experience as it changes from moment to moment, thereby developing congruence and genuineness through empathising as a therapist. So I am not surprised that Rogers experienced presence in his later years. Presence deepens the three basic attitudes and presence becomes deeper by realising these attitudes. In Focusing, we work with mindfulness in a special way, which I will demonstrate later.

If we look in the direction of presence, there is a qualitative jump in contrast to mindfulness, which we cannot make, cannot control with our will. I can direct mindfulness to something. Presence simply is; it is effortless. It can come when bodily sensation, feeling, and mental activity such as thinking, are synchronised to a great extent. However, what I still don't necessarily mean here is the non-dual state of undividedness, of absolute presence. I will come back to that later. Rogers (1980) describes an opening in the direction of presence in the sense of this spontaneous stateof effortless clarity, precision, lightness and earthed expansion of perception or consciousness as follows:

"When I am at my best, as a group facilitator or as a therapist, I discover another characteristic. I find that when I am closest to my inner, intuitive self, when I am somehow in touch with the unknown in me, when perhaps I am in a slightly altered state of consciousness, then whatever I do seems to be full of healing. Then, simply my presence is releasing and helpful to the other."

Gendlin (1992) puts it this way when he writes of

"times late in therapy when there is suddenly a clearer perception.The world seems poignant and sharply etched; it is as if the windows had just been washed - one sees thesame things as before, but what a difference! (...) at such times experience is vastly better than all the meanings in one's perceptual set."

The simplicity with which Gendlin describes the decisive effective factor in the therapeutic relationship - namely that nothing should stand between ourself and the person who comes to therapy - touched me deeply. No techniques of giving back, or mirroring, or Focusing - put all that to one side and simply just be there, person to person. If that doesn't happen, Gendlin says, therapy may become ever more "professional", but in the end it is useless and expensive..."

[click on the title for the full article] 


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The Legacy of a Narcissistic Parent

The Legacy of a Narcissistic Parent | Counselling and More |

"...If you grew up with narcissistic parents, never fear, the legacy can end with you! Your parents’ mistakes can be rocket fuel for your own development.

First, you have to grieve the loss of the parent you never had. Really grieve the fact that you didn’t get the parent you needed, the one who put you and your needs first. Part of that requires releasing the fantasy that your narcissistic parent can change and eventually give you what you need. They can evolve and grow, but they may never evolve enough to meet your deepest needs. Therefore, managing expectations is key, particularly when you see glimpses of the healthy parent you wish you had had, but in fact those glimpses are often not sustainable. Accept that your parent was limited—and could not give you unconditional love or even deep empathy because she could not get past herself to truly see you. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, the anger and the sadness. Emotion has the word motion in it; allow your emotions to move through you. You might not have lost your parent to death, but you lost what could have been—you lost an opportunity to be truly mothered—and that is really a profound loss. Accepting this, rather than denying it, is the first step in opening your heart to healing.

You are going to need to discover boundaries—where you begin and your parents end—to free your authentic self. When you choose who you want to be, rather than who your parents wanted you to be, you break free from their narcissistic grip. Tolerate their discomfort, even if they make a lot of noise. You are not misbehaving, rebelling, or rejecting them. You are being you, the real you—maybe for the first time. This is the first part of breaking the cycle. Next, you don’t want to repeat/generalize the relationship that you had with your narcissistic parent to your coworkers, partner, or friends. Realize where you are meeting the needs of other narcissists in your life, real or imagined. Sometimes children of narcissists assume that every person they’re close to will need the same kind of hyper-attention and appeasement that their parent did—and unconsciously begin doing mental backbends to please others. At times you may be tapping into the expectations of a narcissistic boss or partner, and reflexively playing that familiar role. At other times you may be making erroneous assumptions about what someone important to you really needs—perhaps they don’t want you to mirror their opinions or they don’t need you to sugarcoat your real feelings or soften constructive criticism. Breathe, pause, give yourself some psychic space and then test it. Try just being frank, try not to rush in and take care of their feelings. If being different from your loved one feels uncomfortable—or if you feel you’re risking love with that stance—just notice it. Watch how much stronger your bond is than what you secretly imagined it to be. This is the gift of evolving past the scene of the original crime—your own childhood. Surviving childhood meant taking care of the narcissist and swallowing your feelings. But now as an adult you can begin to surround yourself with people that you feel safe and at home with—like soul mate girlfriends—who know and love the real you, and this can be deeply transformative.

Children of narcissistic parents often wonder if they are really loveable. You are! Start loving and caring for yourself in ways that you wished your mom or dad had loved and cared for you. Start paying attention to what really matters to you; what makes you feel alive and moments when you feel authentically you. Maybe you will need help mothering yourself. Maybe that means getting re-parented by a therapist, or maybe the healing comes from an emotionally reparative romantic partnership. Maybe you have a friend’s mother who is nurturing to you, or a mentor who celebrates the real you. All of these people can become part of your collective parent. No one person is ever capable of meeting all of your needs so start building your collective parenting community. And once you have learned to mother yourself, you will be able to mother your child..."

[click on the title for the full article] 

Lon Woodbury's curator insight, April 3, 12:53 PM

This sounds like if you find a child with very low self-esteem, it is likely his/her parents are more or less narcissistic.  -Lon

Lisa A Romano's curator insight, April 3, 6:12 PM

High trait neuroticism and effect on children


Julianna Bonola's curator insight, April 7, 3:51 AM

Individuation is the process of becoming the person you want to be, and not the person others want you to be.  This article demonstrates how our folks can cause life long problems for many not strong enough to trust themselves to become the adults they want to be.

Rescooped by Dimitris Tsantaris from focusing_gr!

What are Felt Senses?

What are Felt Senses? | Counselling and More |

"...Some felt senses are strong enough that they force themselves into our awareness, like the feeling of butterflies in your stomach before going on stage. But, most of the time, felt senses lie below our ordinary level of consciousness. Only when we deliberately bring gentle, inquiring attention inside our body do we perhaps notice a fluttery or jittery sensation. Once we recognize this subtle felt sense, we can learn a lot about what it is that’s making us uncomfortable, and this often leads to a relaxation of the inner tension and fresh energy to go forward.

Felt senses are subtle sensations experienced in a bodily, non-conceptual way. We have to gently focus our awareness within, sensing for any kind of unclear or cloudy sensations. Felt senses can feel as if they are already there when we bring attention inside, or they can form only after a while, like a photographic image slowly appearing in developing solution. In either case, patient non-judgmental waiting allows the felt sense to stabilize and come more into focus. Once it is fully present, we can begin a process of empathic inquiry. We let the felt sense have its own integrity, separate from our observing self—almost as if it were another being living deep within us. We ask it questions, such as “What are you fearing?” or “What are you needing or wanting?,” or even “How old are you?” We start an inner conversation.

Once we have posed a question to the felt sense, it is important that we wait and let the answer, if any, arise freshly from the felt sense itself. We are not answering the question from what we already know, but waiting for the “other person” — the felt sense — to say what is true for it. Often the answer comes as a sudden insight, an Aha! or, Now I see it. Along with the insight comes a “felt shift,” a change in the felt sense itself, usually a release or softening. Sometimes the shift is also marked by a deep outbreath or a feeling of tears about to come....."

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Rethinking the Placebo Effect: How Our Minds Actually Affect Our Bodies

Rethinking the Placebo Effect: How Our Minds Actually Affect Our Bodies | Counselling and More |

"...Realism can be bad for your health. Optimists recover better from medical procedures such as coronary bypass surgery, have healthier immune systems and live longer, both in general and when suffering from conditions such as cancer, heart disease and kidney failure.

It is well accepted that negative thoughts and anxiety can make us ill. Stress — the belief that we are at risk — triggers physiological pathways such as the “fight-or-flight” response, mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. These have evolved to protect us from danger, but if switched on long-term they increase the risk of conditions such as diabetes and dementia.

What researchers are now realizing is that positive beliefs don’t just work by quelling stress. They have a positive effect too — feeling safe and secure, or believing things will turn out fine, seems to help the body maintain and repair itself…

Optimism seems to reduce stress-induced inflammation and levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. It may also reduce susceptibility to disease by dampening sympathetic nervous system activity and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter governs what’s called the “rest-and-digest” response — the opposite of fight-or-flight.

Just as helpful as taking a rosy view of the future is having a rosy view of yourself. High “self-enhancers” — people who see themselves in a more positive light than others see them — have lower cardiovascular responses to stress and recover faster, as well as lower baseline cortisol levels.

Marchant notes that it’s as beneficial to amplify the world’s perceived positivity as it is to amplify our own — something known as our “self-enhancement bias,” a type of self-delusion that helps keep us sane. But the same applies to our attitudes toward others as well — they too can impact our physical health. She cites University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo, who has dedicated his career to studying how social isolation affects individuals. Though solitude might be essential for great writing, being alone a special form of art, and single living the defining modality of our time, loneliness is a different thing altogether — a thing Cacioppo found to be toxic:

Being lonely increases the risk of everything from heart attacks to dementia, depression and death, whereas people who are satisfied with their social lives sleep better, age more slowly and respond better to vaccines. The effect is so strong that curing loneliness is as good for your health as giving up smoking..."

[click on the title for the full article]


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Focusing: Take your power back

Focusing: Take your power back | Counselling and More |
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The Therapeutic Relationship: 7 Things That Help It Stand

The Therapeutic Relationship: 7 Things That Help It Stand | Counselling and More |

"...[Τ]here are some therapists, and even psychiatrists, who are very far removed from their clients and the families they see. They either don’t know how to relate or simply don’t care. There are also some professionals who simply should not be in the field. Everyone has strengths and sometimes a person’s strengths are not found in this profession. Other people are very intelligent but lack a lot of emotional intelligence. Still, others get into this field to understand themselves or those around them and have very little interest in actually helping. Whatever the reason, there are those of us who thrive in this field and those of us who don’t. As a result, it’s important to be able to identify the qualities that makes a therapist successful at what they do. Successful includes being able to relate to clients, validate their feelings, show compassion and true concern, and be interested in learning about the person behind the label (i.e., a diagnosis or long history of problems). Overtime, I have developed a listing, based on families and clients, of qualities that make a good therapist. Here are the 7 things that contribute to a strong therapeutic relationship:


1. Authenticity..."

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20 Myths about Counselling and Psychotherapy

20 Myths about Counselling and Psychotherapy | Counselling and More |

" [...]

8. Only psychiatrists can do Counselling /Psychotherapy

9. Only psychologists can do Counselling /Psychotherapy

Either of these professional groups can provide Counselling /Psychotherapy if they are qualified to do so (many aren’t), but so can qualified Counsellors /Psychotherapists who don’t have any such background, but have been trained to the proper standard.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialised in the area of Mental Health. Their primary role is still to prescribe medication, though most have some training in Counselling/Psychotherapy as well. They rarely have the time to provide much of it, however, except maybe in a private practice setting.

Psychologists work in a variety of areas, as educational psychologists, research psychologists, forensic psychologists, etc. Some specialise as Clinical Psychologists, in which case they are likely to work with some Mental Health issues, though they might equally work in an area such as Intellectual Disability. Some specialise as Counselling Psychologists, in which case they do the same work as Counsellors/Psychotherapists, in other words “Talking Therapy”.

Most people who describe themselves as Counsellors and/or Psychotherapists do not come from any of these related professional backgrounds (though some may). They are trained from scratch in the profession of Counselling & Psychotherapy. They may or may not have worked in other careers before, but one way or another this now becomes their main qualification and their main career..."

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Configurations of Self in Counselling

Configurations of Self in Counselling | Counselling and More |
The concept of ‘Configurations of Self’ in person-centred counselling was developed by David Mearns and Brian Thorne. It describes the philosophy that we develop various alternative personalities or configurations of self that come to the fore in certain circumstances and that result in thoughts, feelings and behaviours that may surprise us.

‘A configuration of self is a hypothetical construct denoting a coherent pattern of feelings thoughts and preferred behavioural responses symbolised or pre-symbolised by the person as reflective of a dimension of existence within the self’ (Thorne and Mearns, 2000).

According to Thorne and Mearns, these configurations develop as a means of self-protection, as well as self-expression. Various configurations of self allow us to be extremely adaptable in a wide range of circumstances and to express seemingly contradictory traits.
Dimitris Tsantaris's insight:

In addition to what the article describes, Configurations of Self constitute a challenge for the counsellor in that he/she needs to address all of them equally and impartially, treating them with the same empathic unconditional acceptance. This way the client may become able to integrate these "sub-selves" into his/her self-concept (making it more whole and more flexible), to better symbolise his/her inner experience (reducing incongruence), to find relief from the tension that his/her efforts to suppress those unacknowledged parts might have been bringing, and finally to revise the need for them to be there, examining their role under his/her present circumstances and his/her relationship with the world, and making this role more current.

Both the counsellor and the client need to remember that each aspect of this "pluralistic Self" has its own reasons to be there; and these reasons need to be heard and examined.

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Why choose person centred counselling?

Why choose person centred counselling? | Counselling and More |

"...How we see ourselves plays a huge part. Part of that comes from what we imagine others think of us and from our need to be approved of. So as children, if we were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where we were loved and prized for who we were and not what others wanted us to be, we would be better able to keep in touch with what we think and feel rather than trying to live up to the values and beliefs of others. However the reality is that to a lesser or greater degree, we all end up on the receiving end of beliefs and values of parents, teachers and wider society and so we adapt to the messages which say ‘you are worthy if you………………..’ So who we really are becomes buried and in its place we have a self-concept which includes the messages about how to maintain the approval of others. The point at which we seek counselling is often the stage where the conflict between our experience, which may have been denied or distorted, and who we think we are becomes too great and we want change..."

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