A question posed to me this week by my counselling tutor. We’re right into a bit of the course I think all participants are finding a bit “heavy” at the moment. Essentially as part of the course there is a section where you look at your own personality, your own relationships and your own personal history and taking the major schools of counselling theory we’ve studied you look at those aspects of yourself in relation to the theory.
“Why?” you may ask and that is a valid question. Firstly for your own development and self-awareness, which is considered a good thing for a counsellor and also to help you when working with clients to look at their personality, history and issues.
So I set to with pen, pad, list of suggested questions to ask yourself and… hit a brick wall! For a start many things in my childhood are dim and distant only visible through a real thick fog of time passed. Also then the emotions attached to them? Am I now imposing something on that event that wasn’t really present at the time? I know I never really processed emotions well, it is one of the main reasons I believe behind why I developed into an alcoholic, it is a terrific emotional anaesthetic.
When we gathered together as a group to discuss progress etc. I said that I’d found it really hard and couldn’t easily pin things I could remember to a particular theoretical element. For example is something I remember as a key part of my forming in personality due to an instinctual driver for me (the id in Freudian speak or Organismic Self in Person-Centred language), or was it simply something introduced to me by significant others (parents, teachers, preachers etc.) and I was really finding it difficult to come to any conclusion or even really stay focused flipping back and forth between personality, history and personality all at the same time.
That was the point when the tutor said “Did you expect it to be easy?” A fair point, intellectually yes I had thought I’d go something like
- Remember something
- Consider emotions and actions
- Fit to theory
Typical me – trying to process everything like a computer programme. That’s why I realise that I got on so well with computing as a career in my late teens / early twenties. It was black/white, on/off, 1/0 – binary. Simple. Not complex.
Today I’m much more attuned to the plethora of nuances in the world particularly in human relationships, emotions and how people react and behave as a result of that. I’m learning too that if I can’t easily determine for me the drivers and underlying rationale for how I’ve developed as a person then expecting to be able assess someone I’m talking to in a quick four step process like above is simply impossible.