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 […]
The Eclectic Therapist
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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 […]
At the heart of narrative therapy – and the crucial aspect distinguishing it from more empirically-based therapies (such as CBT) – is the question of how we can know reality. Empiricism tells us that there a single “truth” waiting for us to discover it. Narrative therapists, on the other hand, recognise that the operative word […]
The holidays are finished, the relatives have gone home, and your clients are trickling back in, many of them armed with an awesome set of resolutions for what they plan to accomplish. A brand new year is like a clean slate: hopeful, invigorating and full of promise. But the road to realisation of goals is […]
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. […]
How do you respond when your client asks in distress: “Why am I having all these wild dreams?”? Do you know what purpose the client’s dreams may be serving? If your honest answer is “no”, you are not alone. While theories on why we dream abound, it’s hard to get at dreams directly. The main […]
If you’ve been a professional helper for a while, you have probably sensed that the fields we work in (counselling/psychotherapy, psychology, social work, etc.) have changed in recent years. As the world we live in becomes increasingly polarised, so too do the beliefs and values of people drawn to radicalisation toward extremism; for many of […]
Maggie, a counsellor, saw a client in the morning who related how his doctor had just given him a diagnosis of cancer, necessitating cutting out some cancerous tissue. Her client, Arnold, was dismayed about the diagnosis. “But at least,” he confided to Maggie, “I don’t have to have that horrible colostomy bag like some people […]
It’s surely happened to all of us, and it will probably turn up at some stage in your therapy rooms, too: a client confides that, just when she was thinking of someone from the past whom she hadn’t seen for many years but who had a huge impact on her life, she runs into that […]
As the population ages in nations such as Australia and the United States, increasing numbers of offspring wonder how to help their retired, now lonely, and often depressed parent. Some of these may ask you for advice on how to help their beloved mum or dad. Of course, health problems must be tended to, but […]
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.” (Lewis Carroll) You are here on this planet for the duration. What will you do with the time that is allotted to you? Who will you become? What will you have in your life: which people, things, and experiences? What will […]
Suppose someone asked you: “Why are you here? What is the purpose of your existence?” Would you be able to answer that in a meaningful way? Aligned to that question is: “What do you value? What has meaning for you?” In my psychotherapy work, the question of MPV — meaning, purpose, values — often comes […]
Colour pervades our physical environment, from the soft colours of dawn to the bright colours of tropical birds. It also affects our emotional environment, as when we “see red”, “have the blues”, “turn crimson” with embarrassment; or when our bank account should be “in the black”. We are told that colour has huge effects on […]
At a local café yesterday the sign said: “No free Wi-Fi. Talk to each other like before the internet.” What? And be there just for the coffee and conversation? We are more connected today than ever before (Facebook, for example, has more than 1.28 billion active users), but experts warn that we are also lonelier […]
When discussing happiness, one attitude/belief that deserves special mention is the art of accepting ourselves on an “as is, where is” basis. For us to be peacefully in relationship with our own humanness — our own combination of strengths, growing edges and unique quirks — means to have less stress from the source of our […]