Trying to fix things

It’s tempting to think everything can be fixed, that we have an answer for everything.  Therapists can be particularly prone to feel this is how we ought to be: we ought to be able to fix something, to be ‘successful’ as a therapist. Here is Eugene Gendlin talking:

One client, who had an abusive experience as a child, could imagine no way she could ever heal, except to make it ‘unhappen’. Eventually she said she would have been all right in those years if there had been someone to talk to about it. Nothing could have made it unhappen, of course, but she and the person could have “sat on a log together”.  I am here in such a way that a client can sit on a log with me. 

This means that we do not need to have an answer to the client’s stuck places. Sometimes there are real answers. However, usually we [the therapists] have answers because we have not yet understood the problem. When we reach the stage where we have no answer either, then we have really understood.

Sometimes I offer answers…I know so many procedures. I am never without something further that we can try. But we can try it later. We must not miss the real and thick process that happens in those moments when the client and I sit on a log.

In our society, people find it hard to sit together in silence. If I think the silence makes the client uncomfortable, I might say, “here we are, you and I, and for the moment we don’t have a way with this.”

Such statements indicate that we need not hunt desperately for something to say…In words or, more usually, in silence I indicate that our being together is something real that we are doing, even if there is nothing to say.

Answers come from outside. Healing comes from within. If I can be there with you in that ‘within’ place of yours, you are more likely to find healing for yourself – but you are not alone while you find it.

Advertisements

Focusing: A Way In – Saturday 21st September

Places are filling up nicely for my next workshop: ‘Focusing: A Way In’, on 21st September.

But is not too late to book your place

I am very excited about the day and all that I want to share and explore with you about this wonderful way of working with the whole person.

I draw on the work of Eugene Gendlin, Carl Rogers and Ann Weiser Cornell

  • Discover how to help clients notice and hold in the moment their felt sense of something – and stay with that process.
  • Help them to untangle from the thing that troubles them the emotional state that arises in response – and be with that.
  • Above all, help them move into the place within themselves where they can be with all of this – with self-care and compassion rather than self-judgment.

More details and booking information 

or contact me
by phone

07795 324575

email: (please type without spaces)

elizabethjhalls @ gmail.com

Cost:

£50 including lunch and refreshments

Timing

9.30 am coffee/registration, finish 4.00 pm

Venue

The Breast Cancer Haven building, 37 St Owen’s Street, Hereford HR 1 2JB

Plenty of nearby parking.

CPD attendance certificates available (6 hours)

 

 

The Open-Eyed Meditation

In the second of my extracts from James Roose-Evans’ book: Finding Silence, James offers a way that enables us to stay inwardly connected in the outward world.

It was for one extremely busy man who worked in the Foreign Office that, he says:

‘I devised what I have come to call The Open-Eyed Meditation…I suggested that he take the words ‘Thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us’ and say them mentally, over and over, while keeping his eyes open as he walked to get the train in the morning, being aware of his surroundings, of the other people travelling on the train; aware of animals, buildings, the quality of light, of the weather, knowing that God is in everything.

To busy to be. Photo by Jose Martin Ramirez

And then at intervals throughout the day, perhaps when dealing with a difficult colleague, that he keep repeating these words mentally. While nurturing our inner flame we need also to look with open eyes at everything; not only at the outer world but also at our prejudices, our animosities, our judgmental attitudes toward others, our resistances, our laziness, to see how egoistic most of us are, how we manipulate others to get our way.

‘Looking in but looking out. So many of us dash through each day without stopping to look about us: to observe the pigeon on the railway platform scrabbling for crumbs, the tired woman in front of us returning home after a night shift, or a fractious child: for all the world is my neighbour. We are all involved. It is no good shutting our eyes twice a day in meditation if it is regarded as a retreat from the reality that is all around us.’

Saturday 12th October is a time for you to step out of the bustle and find silence at my one-day retreat, based on James Roose-Evans book, at the Bleddfa Centre. More here

To read more of this chapter and the rest of Finding Silence, you can buy it from Amazon, or at the Bleddfa Centre.

Finding Silence

Come to the Bleddfa Centre on Saturday 12th October for Finding Silence, a day retreat based on the book of that name by Bleddfa’s founder, James Roose-Evans.

From now until the retreat day, I will be featuring excerpts from James’s book. I hope you will find in it, as I have done, a medicine for the soul in busy and stressful times. Let it take you on a different journey…

Details about the retreat can be found here

A Way In

Inviting all counsellors and psychotherapists
to explore with me how a Focusing-oriented approach can transform client work.

My next workshop is in Hereford on 21st September 2019.

Focusing: A Way In

Would you like to:

  • enable clientsto engage more compassionately with themselves?
  • gently holdand enable those moments in therapy when clients connect to their own inner process?
  • facilitate inner reconciliationwhen clients’ emotional states are in tension with one another?
  • be yourselfmore fully Present to all aspects of your clients’ being in the moment?
  • trust and engagewith the client’s own embodied, implied movement towards healing?
  • recognizeand work with different parts of the client’s embodied self to help them  be acknowledged, feel safe, and to change?

This is exciting and beautiful work!

I hope you can join me.

Click the image for further information and to book your place now –

or contact me by phone

07795 324575

0r email:

elizabethjhalls @ gmail.com

Cost: £50 including lunch and refreshments (£45 early bird before 12th August).

0930 coffee/registration for 10.00-4.00 workshop

 

 

When you are the music…

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have been exploring with a client what it means to feel wholly present in an action and in the moment of it. This might be a good description of Maslow’s ‘Self-actualisation’, which the great Carl Rogers saw as ‘the curative force in psychotherapy – man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities…the urge to express and activate all the capacities…of the self’.

Ponder this for a moment. Are there times when you feel this for yourself, or sense it in others?

It might be when someone:

*cooks food with a sort of alchemic magic

*responds to children with real connection, or finds a creative way to explain to them something they couldn’t understand before

*solves a dispute by some calm way of standing with and between both sides

*finds the funny thing to say that’s not sarcastic or hurtful

*trains and bonds as one with dogs or horses, as in agility or dressage

*takes an engine apart and puts it together again with an almost-intuitive understanding of what was wrong

*paints or sculpts or writes a poem that captures an essence of something

*feels completely at one with the spirit of a particular place

*listens to a piece of music or plays a musical instrument with soul, heart, mind engaged (“You are the music while the music lasts”[1]),

*runs, cycles, swims, hang-glides, skates with innate ease

*or just feels totally relaxed in the moment

and all of these being felt with a sense of freedom, connection, joy, laughter.  And what might be a chore for one could be joy for another: uniquely an expression and experiencing of them as a whole person, apart from anyone else. This is different from just being good at something, and is not competitive. It is not about being the best. Nor does it define a person – it is just an outward living flow of them at that moment. It is a moment of integration between the essence of a person and them living it in life.

In the film, Chariots of Fire, Eric Lidl says, ‘God made me, and he made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.’ Whether or not you believe in God is immaterial in sensing the unity between Lidl’s running and the essence of him engaged in that.

So what stops you from allowing your Self to be present in your outer life? I guess fear, and that can have many tentacles, one of which is the fear of self-indulgence. But to be more yourself means that you have more of yourself to give to others.

[1] T.S.Eliot, in The Dry Salvagesfrom The Four Quartets

How good are you?

words text scrabble blocks
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I have a list of words, I’ve recently discovered, that I like to think fit my personality. It’s quite long. Here is the start of it:

Good, kind, powerful, strong, intelligent, spiritual, generous, funny, interesting, brave, selfless, refined, right, calm….

You get the picture?

If I’m honest, it’s quite hard to maintain this all the time!

Unfortunately, I’ve also discovered that I have a second list. It’s not what I like to think fits me, but it is what I have the potential to be and am at times. It’s also long. It starts like this:

Bad, unkind, vulnerable, weak, stupid, materialistic, mean, dull, boring, timid, selfish, crass, wrong, angry…

You get that picture too?

The good news is, I don’t actually have to choose between List A and List B. They’re both part of what I am as a human being – surprise, surprise! How hard is it for us to accept that!

What a relief to be able to look at the second list and say, ‘Yes, I’m all of this, too’ – just not all the time.   And to say, ‘Yes, I can be the stuff in the first list – just not all the time.’ It’s enough to accept that I’m a work in progress.

Accepting the ‘shadow’ side of myself gives me a more honest and authentic place on which to stand and relate to myself and others.  I can relax from the fear of ‘getting it wrong’. Of course I’ll get it wrong. But this isn’t a fixed state to be judged by – just part of the flow. So when I look in the inner mirror, I don’t have to ‘breathe in’, metaphorically. I can say hello to my own self, just as I am, and start from there.

brown tabby cat peeking beside wall
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So I just invite you to let yourself off the hook from being perfect, and whatever it means to be ‘right’, and just be content to be human. It’s a very good, honest starting point for being more at ease with yourself and others. Good things follow!