Monday, 9 March 2015

Would you counsel a friend?

After yesterday's post about boundaries and ethics, something got me thinking.
Suppose you are a person who is qualified in counselling skills and your friend is suffering with emotional issues. You are both close and you really care about your friend's well-being. Your friend has been to the doctors and the waiting list for counselling is months. What do you do? Do you continue to support him or her, and listen to their problems, and do fun things together to try and cheer them up? Yes, I suppose this is the normal thing to do. But, at what point if at all, does your internal supervisor remind you it is wrong to counsel someone you know? 
If you continue to listen to your friends problems until they get help, does it then create a new presidence in the relationship. In other words, when your friend is suffering, he or she now knows who to turn to.
Just my thoughts for the day.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Here is an excerpt taken from the end of my book, "Jaynie" by Jayne Verity. This doesn't give away the details of my own personal story in the book. But, I thought it a good way to bring together the main learning's from my time with the therapist I went to see.

I do not and will not condemn therapists and counsellors by saying that absolutely everybody needs ethical and boundary training. Personally, I believe ethics and values are born from our own personal self respect. Then, and only then, do we learn how to respect other people. I believe care of self begins with 'self'. This is my own opinion. You don't have to agree. I am sure there are many many counsellors and therapists out there who have a good level of self-respect and understand what boundaries are. Perhaps they have a different name for the same thing. However, I have met a few who don't have a clue or it was just a little bit of theory they were given one day at college or university.

I learned the difficult way, through bad experience. But, when I studied and qualified as a person centred counsellor, how to be and how not to be in a therapeutic setting was easier for me to gauge. With lots of personal therapy and the added bonus of already being qualified in neuro linguistic programming and clinical hynoptherapy, I grew tremendous self respect.

Boundaries are the marking of a territory or a line where one space ends and another one begins. They are like posts or markers that enable each person to recognise what should or should not happen in the therapy room. Without boundaries, therapy sessions could be led by presumption and manipulation. Without boundaries, no one can really understand someone else’s purpose or intention. There is nothing to hold therapy sessions together because nothing has been agreed beforehand. I believe having clear boundaries in place from the outset shows a good level of respect for self and others during a time when the client is at their most vulnerable. A safe and ethical environment can help develop a nurturing therapeutic relationship.A further mark of respect is the contract. Usually the first session is a good opportunity for the counsellor or therapist to go through a list of what is involved. The written contract sets out clear boundaries so that each person knows what to expect and what not to expect from the therapeutic arrangement. The contract should have the counsellor’s or therapist’s name, a contact phone number, and what to do if either party cannot make an appointment. It will often include the pre-agreed number of sessions, their duration, the fee and how it should be paid. The contract should also explain that confidentiality may be broken, but only if the client is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. In any event it should be discussed by both parties wherever possible before it goes outside the therapy room. Even then it should take a structured approach that involves the client every step of the way to ensure they are safe and get the appropriate help they need. The counsellor or therapist should explain this and it should be summarised in the therapy contract. The contract should also give the name of the counsellor’s or therapist’s professional organisation and the code of ethics they uphold. Both the client and the therapist/counsellor should sign the contract and each have a copy. The client should always feel able to revisit any of the details in the contract if there is something they are not quite sure about. The client always has the right to check the therapist’s or counsellor’s qualifications or behaviour, by contacting their professional organisation.In therapy, a counsellor’s or therapist’s role is to counsel, and to use therapy skills to facilitate and to give the client space and time to talk and explore their feelings. A client’s role is to bring their problems to the therapy session and hopefully feel comfortable enough to talk in a safe and ethical environment. Clear boundaries are put in place throughout to protect both parties. Roles are important. A counsellor is not a client’s friend. A therapist is not a client’s friend. A counsellor or therapist should provide the right conditions to help the client feel safe enough to grow independently. If a counsellor or therapist allows their role to change, this can interfere with and confuse the client’s healing process; it can promote reliance and dependency upon the relationship for both parties. It is considered absolutely unethical, limiting, unprofessional and very wrong for a counsellor or therapist to become a friend. This is not a healthy way to work. It selfishly fulfils the therapist’s or counsellor’s own urge to make people better outside the therapy room. The client’s sensitive and vulnerable state should not be manipulated to fulfil the therapist’s or counsellor’s own needs. This is what lonely therapists do: they do not know how to maintain a relationship outside their therapy settings, so they hold onto their clients. This is unprofessional; those therapists or counsellors need help and should be having personal therapy themselves! These dual roles are unethical, limiting, unprofessional and very wrong.In a professional setting, a counsellor or therapist should usually have peer supervision to ensure they are working professionally and ethically, and to the best of their potential. Supervision is to help the counsellor or therapist work within their role and maintain a good standard of practice. A therapist or counsellor will talk about their practice with their supervisor whilst keeping similar clear and confidential boundaries as in the therapy room.                                                            
‘‘I am not going to give you what Delbert Wallis gave to you. I aim to help you discover how to help yourself feel loved, by starting to accept who you are and by learning to love yourself, without being dependent upon anyone. Do you understand?’  Quote taken from chapter, Proper Therapy,Jaynie by Jayne Verity.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

My nightmares

This is a poem I wrote after another night of crying in my sleep. The nightmares are rare now, but when they do return, they frighten me. I wish I could understand them, but pictures don't come into my mind, only a tremendous feeling of being trapped.

You stole me
You touched me
You took me away

invaded my mind
poisoned my blood

How can I ever get well?

I need to break free
once and for all
get you out of my being

deliver me - please

cleanse me!

Make my life real - please

Let me feel love, without your face
Let me feel life, without your

I hide
and enter a world
where nobody can mistrust
No-body there, unless I request
Only my guests
It's magical and make believe
and miracles are real

God loves me, I love me
I 'live' there. Jayne Verity.