Bubble Bursting


I have an apology to make. Last time I said I’d write a post about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Something has knocked me off that particular track for now. Something came up at the end of November, urging me to get something out of my system first. It stands in the way of everything else until I stop trying to dismiss it. So sorry about this change of subject.

The subject is this…

(Second-Guessing Prejudice)

Not all of you will be aware that as a counsellor I am required to have counselling supervision. My supervisor I see is trained to help me monitor my own skills, knowledge and performance for my clients. She helps me do my job well.

Recently, I ended a term of couple counselling. My clients were kind enough to allow me to add their praise to my testimonial page. Happy clients. Fantastic.

As great as their gratitude is, it again raises the question of institutional “bubbles”: Closed systems, wilfully deaf and blind to more than one approach. Why is it people wanting counselling get automatically and inconsiderately syphoned down the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy funnel?

The answer is that, unlike other approaches, C.B.T. in the UK is done more to a formula. This means it has more easily produced statistics. It is true, C.B.T. works for a good number of people. But not for all. I myself don’t get on with how it’s taught and administered.

(As I write, I’m seeing a hard, rigid and cold, sausage making machine. Beside it is a squidgy, shape changing organism. An image I’ve had many times before.)

Here was my confusion as I told it to my supervisor:

  1. I am aware of a number of people who’d benefit more from person-centred counselling than C.B.T.
  2. Am I just being bitter for being outside the System’s “bubble”? Bitter for having my service overlooked or judged ineffective by the System?
  3. Is there a real element of prejudice towards my brain injury, my service, or both? Or is past life experience around my brain injury making me just think there is?

How many of you with your own brain injuries ask number 3 every day? I’d be interested to know.

Together we reflected on the unique gifts my cerebral palsy allows me to bring to clients. And what makes research studies good studies.

(How reliable are statistics?)

Last Christmas I was at a dinner party. One of the guests, learning that I’m a counsellor, vented their anger. Months earlier, my fellow guest had seen their G.P. about their anxiety. He’d referred them to a “counsellor” who had just provided tick boxes and homework to do.

I was told the therapist had not really wanted to listen. Instead the therapist wanted them to persevere with the homework. This had made things worse. In the end, my fellow guest had written and said what the therapist had wanted to hear.  Better to get away and not be seen as a failure.

The therapist had ticked their case a success.

It was not the first time I’d heard this kind of story. Such recorded, so-called “successes” muddy the waters. Let’s not forget that some outcomes truly are successful. However, cases like the one above make the statistics questionable. It is healthier to burst the bubble and be open.

Click here to learn what Judith Beck, the daughter of C.B.T.’s originator has to say on the subject. I’ve run on too long.




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