Given the right conditions

The right conditions?

There’s always an element of patience when angling. Quite a lot of not very much happening. As someone with ADHD, not very much happening is a difficult thing, at times I think I need to move about, be active. I’m learning to try and be still, to wait, and to be observant.

“A watched kettle never boils”, my mum would often say. It does boil though, as a child I would put this theory to the test and become bored easily. I suppose what she was trying to say was all good things to those who wait, and as I said, waiting was my kryptonite!

The pond is quite still this evening apart from tiddlers and geese, but I choose to wait tonight. Waiting for a moment, Trying to practice patience. Soon I’m aware of the minutiae, the warbles and the twitters than are part of the ponds soundtrack.

Sometimes when a client comes for counselling their is waiting too. Waiting for something to happen, or something to change, to get better. Sometimes we want something to make us feel better immediately.

As a counsellor I’m often waiting too. For a new referral, or for the client to arrive for their first appointment. Of course this is nothing compared to the waiting to see if they’ll come back for their second appointment.

In the room, there is waiting too, and patience. Waiting for the client so speak, or for them to stop speaking, waiting for the silence, the quiet tick of the clocks, sounds from another room, the birds in nearby trees, the rustling of clothes, the soundtrack to the counsellors room. Here patience is required, as I let the client tell their story, in their time. Being still and present allows me to do this. To become aware of my clients story, and it’s nuance allows me to hold the space for them, letting them know it is safe to do so.

I think I only cast twice this evening, it wasn’t right, there wasn’t much movement, it was clear that the conditions weren’t right. There are certain conditions when angling for carp at night, the water temperature, the drift, the right spot, sometimes on a sunny evening after a shower or two, there is a moment, a lull in the air where I feel pretty sure I will catch , when the conditions are just right, that connection will be made.

In the counselling room, the conditions are put in place by how I am with the client. Building and connection with them in their time, through there story, their pain is what allows the change to take place. Creating those conditions that Carl Rogers often spoke of.

By being warm and understanding, demonstrating empathy and authenticity. The relationship between client and counsellor develops. It astounds me to think that this basic tenet of building friendships in our personal lives can be missed when working in a professional environment. Those very conditions which enable a friend to feel safe can be replicated in any professional room. It helps to demystify the client counsellor relationship when they are greeted warmly, openly and with genuineness. It allows the client to see the counsellor as a fellow. A human, being human. As in angling, if I am able to provide those three facilitating conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive conditions them, like when angling, I will make a different kind of connections

I’m learning to be more simplistic in my approach to counselling. I’m trying NOT to resort to psychological tricks, but instead to creat a space for the client to feel okay. To allow them to move at their pace, not mine. It’s not a race but a journey and there are far many wonders to see if we take our time. “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop once in a while and take a look, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller.

I’m learning to take a more simplistic approach to angling too. A more natural approach. Simple tackle, simple baits, and essential tea making equipment.This evening on the pond, the conditions weren’t quite right. That’s ok, sometimes it’s not about actually catching the fish, sometimes it’s about the action of going fishing and if I allow myself to create the right conditions, I may not catch a fish, but I am able to catch so much more.

Sincerely Yours 

A Thirsk Counsellor 

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