Some Counsellors, have in their practice room a collection of stones, pebbles and shells and a tray of sand. They are not decorative, they are tools. It might seem a bit odd, but they can be really useful and produce profound results. Traditional talking therapy involves contact with the emotional world, of course, as well as with the intellect as this is what we all use to process new ideas. Sometimes however the emotional core of an issue is hard to reach, sometimes the intellect prevents us from getting to the core of the matter. It defends the vulnerable emotional part of us very efficiently and often without us even being aware of it. This is great for our survival through tough emotional times but if there is damage there, we do well to gently access that damage and begin to heal it. The use of stones and other objects can help to overcome intellectual defense mechanisms. Shuffling the focus from interacting with the therapist, the client is asked to choose objects to represent the significant people connected with the issue or to represent thoughts and feelings. Each object is placed in the sand by the client. Usually this is done in silence and the counsellor waits while the client goes through their process contemplatively. When the choosing and placing of the objects is complete, client and counsellor can literally see the problem in a different light. Relationships between objects, whatever they signify, can provide surprising insights as can the choice of the objects themselves. People usually need very little inquiry from the counsellor to explain what they have done and to draw new conclusions about the situations they face. Some years ago a colleague once recounted the story of a client choosing a small stone to represent the self, which she then buried almost completely in the sand. The counsellor gently asked what it might be like to bring that stone to the surface so it could be seen. This simple question brought lots of tears for the client and there followed an exploration of the clients feelings of needing to hide and of the possibility that she might not need to remain hidden forever. Powerful stuff indeed just from a stone and some sand.
Creative Tools in Counselling
When looking at creative ways to find patterns in the way you think, have reacted and continue to use, creative tools can be very effective. If you do not like art or being creative, please do not worry these creative methods are nothing to fear, there is no right or wrong way of doing things and are a different tool to help you find connections and piece your puzzle together. By talking and using visual tools this can help you to process and see the patterns more clearly in ways you might not have done before. This kind of work doesn’t appeal to everyone and we are careful to ask clients if you would like to try this. It is absolutely okay if you do not want to for whatever reason. Usually though people are keen to have a go once the relationship has been established and you know were not suggesting something odd.Some of the creative tools are explained below and dont worry you dont need an art brush and an easel quite yet, these are just some tools which might help and you might experience with your counsellor depending on your personal needs and situation.
Time Line Therapy
Time Line Therapy involves treatment at an unconscious level and allows you the client to surrender negative emotions, linked to past experiences and transform your internal programming. A persons timeline represents their mental photo album and their own ability to distinguish between images of the past and perceptions of the future. The internal programming is often the mechanism that is responsible for your outward expressions of emotions. The goal of time line therapy is to subtly and unconsciously change your behaviour patterns so you can react to present experiences based on present conditions and not react to situations that present themselves today, based on emotions linked to previous life events. The technique relies on reprogramming your response and behaviour mechanism in such a way to bring about a healthier sense of well being. Time Line Therapy incorporates a sampling of various techniques that empower you to take the emotional reins of your life back. If you often suffer from emotional outbursts or unfamiliar reactions and you do not know why this might be able to help you see the patterns and connections more clearly. Emotions such as depression, anxiety and fear are all symptoms of negative feelings that prevent someone from reaching the peak of their human development. Often, limiting beliefs are manifested in our verbal expressions. These beliefs are born out of past experiences and we have integrated them into our internal structure. The Time Line technique allows you to move past these limiting beliefs and personal constrictions on your life. Through practical application you can be guided to access specific memories and learn how to disconnect from negative feelings associated with those memories. This allows you to liberate yourself from your prior belief system and instead create new, more positive affirmations and beliefs which can help you reach the autonomy you have been searching for.
A genogram is a picture of a persons family relationships and history. A genogram is a really useful tool for helping us to understand the key people and relationships in our lives. It can also help us to see patterns within those relationships and generational patterns which are affecting us. A genogram is a graphic representation of a family tree that displays detailed data on relationships among individuals. It goes beyond a traditional family tree, by allowing the user to analyze hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships. The genogram provides a close look inside those relationships, with close look at social, emotional and psychological stories that reveal trauma history, frequently handed down from one generation to the next.