But my experience with her was a transformational one. From the gentle pace to her sensitivity to who I was, the experience was deep and expansive. It was also immensely challenging at times, but always safe. And over time, I learned she was also holding on to who I could be, not just my history and painful past. This is one of the key ideas in Psychosynthesis. Your counsellor works with your pain and also has in mind your potential, in other words, all you can be in this world.
One of the techniques she used which made a profound impact on me was to suggest that I wrote my autobiography, both to help her and me understand my life journey up until that point.
Later, I understood that the autobiography is one of the core tools in Psychosynthesis, particularly in longer term work. By writing our story, we start to re-engage with what we remember as the key events in our lives. The act of committing this to paper, whether real or virtual, can be a very empowering experience. We can start to experience a fresh perspective on those formative moments. And for those that caused pain or distress, to begin to reclaim them. With time and patience, this process can help recalibrate our relationship with our own life story, the times at which we felt in control, and those when we felt a victim.
Telling stories is, of course, pretty much a universal socio-cultural phenomenon for human beings. So what does it feel like to tell your own story? Sometimes, counselling is the first time in your life you get your to tell your story and have it witnessed and heard, without judgement but with deep empathy. As a counsellor, when I think of my clients, one of the most humbling and moving aspects of the work is to hear a person’s story, to be in the presence of their deepest and richest humanity, with its triumphs and disasters, beauty and of course occasional ugliness.
I remember when I finished with my first counsellor that I was ready to retell my story. And while the facts remained unchanged, my relationship to my story had changed completely for the good. That’s the power of counselling.
If you want to find out more about how you can change your relationship to your life story, get in touch.
By Matt Fox – www.mattfoxcounselling.co.uk Totnes, Paignton and Newton Abbott