As this year draws to a close I am usually mindful of the year behind me. ‘Another year over, and what have you done‘ John Lennon asks and I reflect on an answer to give him. This year against the odds, I fought hard to stay on my counselling diploma. I have just finished all written work towards it and although I already volunteer for two counselling agencies, in the New Year I can offer counselling in private practice and to support our work in Equine ReWilding at Paintedhorse. Counselling training has been life changing, in so many ways. The life I lived and the relationships I had at the start of my training almost 4 years ago have all changed or have ended. This is probably because I have changed; as my inner work progressed, my external world started to reflect the change in my internal world. I invested in 55 hours of personal therapy with a counsellor I really clicked with and who invited my real self into the room. Having unconditional positive regard, congruence and empathy was a powerful experience which enabled me to grow towards my potential. I recommend inner work to anyone.
The Johari Window (above) is an interesting model to look at when learning more about yourself and how you perceive the world around you. Talking with other people and asking for feedback can be helpful when learning more about your blind-self. Remember with this type of exploration to check in with your real self about what resonates as your truth; people can have other agendas and inner work is not about giving your power away. When we receive information about ourselves we can look at the context in which it was said or sent, which gives us an idea of whether it is meant to be helpful or not. Sometimes things said can trigger something in us, and if we follow the feeling or thought to detect where it goes in the body and perhaps what it says when it gets there we learn more about ourselves.
Our hidden-self, often referred to as our shadow side, is about information we don’t necessarily want people to know about us, perhaps for fear of rejection, abandonment or isolation. Remember our brain is primarily wired for attachment, without attachment as babies, we wouldn’t survive. To allow this self to be seen by others can be liberating and it can also inspire others to do the same.
The idea is to use both group work and personal therapy to reduce the size of the unknown-self and to bring the unconscious into the conscious. As a counsellor it is important to know where you stop and a client begins, what your triggers are, what you take to supervision to improve your service to your client and what to take to personal therapy to improve your service to your ‘self’.
The more I have learnt about myself this year, the more I have been able to identify my own truth, my true essence, my wild self and reclaimed my power from others. When information comes to me I check where is resonates within the body and I can then either understand it, accept it or reject it.
A wise person once told me to ‘stop looking in the rear view mirror because you ain’t going that way‘ so this year, although I love a good reflection, I am looking forward. Forward to manifesting a counselling practice, a thriving equine therapy business, an income, and a home of my own with someone I love. I am grateful right now for a brilliant, talented and perfectly matched business partner, beautiful friends, new opportunities and twelve gorgeous horses with whom I feel so privileged to be included within the herd.
Wishing you all love and light for your year ahead.