She makes an appointment to talk about the “what next” since the affair. You assume that her spouse has been unfaithful, but when she turns up to session, she tells you that she was the one who strayed. “It felt so good at the time,” she says. “I felt more alive and sexy than I […]
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He sits down and looks at you dolefully, his big eyes full of hurt and desperation. “I don’t know why she cheated on me,” he whispers hoarsely, “but this is the worst hurt I have ever felt. I don’t know how I will cope, or what it means for our kids. I guess my marriage […]
You are asked at the cocktail party what you do. “Well,” you respond with enthusiasm, “I’m so excited right now. I just graduated with my degree in hospitality.” “Oh, a future barista,” says the other guest, swirling his drink. “I guess we can’t all get Ph.D.’s in science like I did.” You run into a […]
Counsellor to client mandated to come to counselling after an alleged domestic violence incident: “So, did you hit your wife?” Client: (Squirming in chair). “I love my wife. Do you think I would give a black eye to the woman I love? What happened was that there was this jar of honey that couldn’t be […]
“You should always believe your clients,” said the counselling-training professor to the trainees, “and you should always disbelieve them” It’s possible that that advice – confusing and impossible as it seems to be – is useful not only for therapists listening to clients, but to any of us listening to a fellow human being. Even […]
Johnny sings a song to his mum and asks her how well she thought he sang. In reality, Mum likens Johnny’s voice to, as Simon Cowell once said of a talent show participant, “the sound a cat makes after it falls off the roof before it hits the ground”. Does Mum say this to Johnny, […]
Your 39-year-old female client seats herself and looks at you with frustration. It’s been many months now since she was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative condition, but she just can’t accept it; life is becoming impossible. Your 20-something male client suffered a relational breakup seven months ago; this was his “love of my life” and he […]
You know the feeling. The person seems to be making a reasonable request, or advising you to do something “for your own good”, but inside your guts are completely churned up! What’s going on? The chances are that you are experiencing an attempt to manipulate you. Sadly, manipulation is rife in the real world and […]
INTIMACY! Ok, now that we have your attention . . . let’s try another cue: SPIRITUALITY! And now, we’d like to know: what was the difference in your reaction to the two words? For many, intimacy conjures up juicy images of sexual trysts with the mythically perfect lover: one who attends to our every need […]
You hand your friend the beautifully wrapped gift. In delight, your dear one excitedly strips off the bow and wrapping, lifts the box, and then says in a crestfallen voice, “I can’t wear wool; it makes me itch. Here, you can have it back.” Can you imagine how deflated and hurt you would feel if […]
What do you say to a client whose presenting issue is deep angst over the question of relationship? Whether the person is in a primary relationship and deeply unhappy, questioning whether to stay or to go, or the person longs for that primary relationship in order to feel happy and fulfilled, the issue is a […]
Many people view a new year as a clean slate: a chance to start afresh, including emotionally. For some this includes healing from past hurts which may have kept the person from moving forward in life. If a client comes to you with forgiveness on her mind – and, perhaps, whether she should or should […]
“The way my manager looked at me when I turned in the report – I know he’s planning to sack me soon.” “I can by the way she kissed me; my wife is cheating on me for sure!” “That horrid tart dating my dad is just after his money – to cut my brother and […]
The tree is aglow with the presents all wrapped, the holiday baking is done, and Aunt Daisy has promised to be on her best behaviour. Your client is ready for Christmas – or maybe not. As the siren call of “happy holidays” beckons, many people are thrilled to come to the end of the year. […]
We live in a noisy, overstimulated, fast-paced world: conditions in which extraverts thrive, but for the roughly half of the population who are introverted, those same conditions are cause for dismay, if not worse. At some stage, you may be asked to help a frazzled, introverted client regain balance. What are the signs and symptoms […]