So here I am new to blogging and having done all my research and watched many Utube videos on how to blog I find myself sat staring at a blank screen!
It leads me to think about my first experience of counselling. I chose a Psychodynamic counsellor, not for any particular reason, in fact at that point I wasn't really sure what psychodynamic was. She just lived close to me and was within a price range that I could afford.
The First Session
I remember that first session so well. I was very nervous and totally unsure what to expect (a bit like I am writing this blog)! I arrived at least ten minutes early as I didn't want to be late and wasn't 100% sure where I was going. This lead to an anxious ten minute wait in my car whilst my mind plagued me with thoughts of what she would be like and what she would ask me? Would she be able to take one look at me and know my every thought?
Finally my the ten agonising minutes were up and I found myself at her front door. As I pressed the bell I was still wondering what she would be like. I was met with an older lady dressed all in black with a lovely warm smile. As we climbed the stairs to her room I remember thinking, "I think I've made a good choice here."
The room itself was a moderate size with two chairs and a chaise lounge. There was a small window in the far wall of the room but as we were on the second floor all that could be seen was trees. I did not realise at that time how often I would come to look at those trees as they changed with the seasons and wonder if their change was symbolic of my own.
My counsellor went through the initial contract and we discussed how frequently I would attend sessions and agreed the rate that I was to pay. We also talked about confidentiality and her cancellation policy.
That first session sticks in my mind still whenever I prepare to see a new client. I remember the anxiety and try to emulate the warm smile that first put me so at ease. She explained to me her way of working and I came to learn the importance of learning to trust in the process.
The Blank Screen
The Blank Screen as described by Freud was to play a key role in my counselling. Although I never made it onto the couch, preferring to sit facing my counsellor, she would often sit very still and without any expression on her face. This would allow me to project my own thoughts and feelings onto her and to allow me to make conscious my unconscious thoughts thus allowing insight to take place.
In my practice today I do not use a chaise lounge or couch of any sort preferring my clients to be able to sit facing me. However, having since trained as a psychodynamic counsellor I do believe very much in the process of making the unconscious conscious. What was most useful for me was to have someone listen and make relevant interventions when they felt it was useful. I do work with some silence in the room as I think this is a powerful tool and after-all we all need time to think and process now and then, but I feel that the most crucial part of counselling is the relationship. It is so important that clients and supervises alike feel comfortable and that the environment is one of respect and non judgement.
I always try to offer a warm smile when opening the door and always remind myself what it can feel like in the first session. I became a counsellor because I am interested in people and love to feel that I am helping others in some way, not because I wanted to be able to look at someone and analyse their every thought!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, my very first blog. I would love to hear your comments and ideas about future blogs that you would be interested in.