Thursday, 1 February 2018

What's That Bear Doing In A Rubber Ring?

I had some counselling before Christmas. There's a scheme at work that allows us six free sessions.  I've done it before.  It's been useful.  The therapy that I use in my own work to play with other people's heads is a mixture of  snippets that I've gleaned from cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness and of course, my own profession of occupational therapy.  I've incorporate these in an ever evolving way in my own life too.

The therapists/counsellors that I see come from more psychodynamic realms.   To be honest the theory and methodology behind these traditions flummox me.   They delve into the past in far more detail than I'm comfortable with when working with others.  Focusing on the present to create a changed future is more my bag.

One had a sandpit under a table top.  On shelves around the room  was what looked like an entire lifetime's collection of plastic figures gleaned from charity shops.  There were animals, little people, cartoon figures and random tiny objects.  I had to gather some up as whim took me and arrange them in the sand.  My finds  included a freaking great T-Rex!  What I created was strangely personal.  I'm not going to share it here but I've told close buddies what happened..  Calamity Jane chuckles every time she recalls the glaringly obvious insights that  the exercise provided.

What I've found is that it is really helpful to work with someone who sees things from an entirely different perspective.  Whilst working with my last counsellor  some intense imagery came to me during the last session with her. This is what I've drawn badly here with the colouring pens from downstairs.   I'm no artist when it comes to drawing and painting.  One day I might be able to muster up something more pleasing or  I could persuade someone with proficient skills  to create a more masterly version for me. Ink and watercolour on beautiful Japanese paper is what I have in mind.  But for now this will do nicely.

It's not a  bear, as Louis thought but me! I saw myself in a lifebuoy in a sea was raging but which I knew had been more turbulent in the past.  I was being winched  out.  I can't see my rescuer and am not sure if they are a person or if 'The Hand of God' is being offered down.  The rope was very distinctive.  It was dark blue, square and braided.   The sea is my life and the great big ring my friends, bless them, who have supported me through the storm and stopped me drowning.   I'm surrendering and being pulled out of turmoil.  Fighting to survive is no longer a requirement.

Six weeks on and the metaphorical sea is still bubbling.  On the surface the circumstances that drove me to seek counselling haven't gone away.  It's interesting though as I'm calmer  and happier than I've been for years.   It's not just me that thinks so  Others are commenting.   Perhaps the incredibly intense hope that this vision gave me is partly the reason.


  1. Wow, Julie-thank you for sharing this very personal experience. I learn so much from you about myself as you often touch on feelings and thoughts that I have/am experiencing. When I was so unwell in December and January, my husband actually asked me if I could go for some Mindfullness sessions as he finally admitted that he sees a big difference in my levels of calmness when I am practising it daily. (this is from a man who basically thinks it’s a load of hokum) I’m back to Pilates too and am gradually gaining my calmer self. Catriona

    1. Mindfulness is good stuff. It was my first proper foray into self improvement and I still practice it on a daily basis. xx

  2. I recall once seeing on t v an old beautiful sailing boat with sails on the sea & whatever storm it met it remained safe-eventually there was calm again x