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saint freudIn this blog I’ve been sharing my recent sense of transition: to be meeting new insights about my “Self” and how I have come to be the way I am. Much of this has not been easy, yet there is an honouring that this material must come to light, and a certain inevitability about it to (the timing as it is post-retreat and ahead of the life event of getting married. I know that unless I investigate these deeper and (up until now) hidden aspects of my Self, they will remain in my Shadow and block a greater engagement in life and relationship with others. I also know that exploration - its process and outcome - will lend itself to my therapeutic work.

And this is what I have been pondering this week - in my transition, in contacting unknown parts of me, how does this impact my therapeutic work at this time? How can I use my vulnerability in the service of my clients? Is that even possible? What “status” of emotional well-being is ideal for work with clients? Does a therapist have to be “fully therapised” themselves to be a good therapist? Is “fully therapised” even possible? What does that look like? Its certainly not to be saintly and removed from and above this life.

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in the shadow of cherry treeI celebrated a birthday at the weekend. Not a ‘big’ one, but big enough…it felt big because of the process and transition I feel I am in post retreat. There is something distinctly ‘mid-life’ about this transition. I speak with many clients about their experiences of reaching mid-life; the nature of it like climbing up a mountain in the first half of life only to get to the top and realise the view isn’t what they expected. I shared this metaphor with a friend at the weekend and he said “yep, its all downhill from here on in”. Is this mid-life? Am I halfway through? What does downhill mean? It gets easier? Or is that a reference to the final finish line?

I’ve shared in recent weeks how I have connected to a sense of ‘loss’, or more accurately a fear of loss. In coming back from retreat and re-connecting with friends and family, I have been hearing news of separating relationships, diagnoses of cancer, loss of jobs and deaths of loved ones. The very stuff of ‘life’. I carry these in my heart while I sit and listen to similar narratives from my clients. Spring is in the air, normally a time I connect with life, with renewal…but things feel differently this year. A little darker, a little more shadow. Yet there is a sense that this period of shadow is incredibly powerful and profound; a potential for growth and ultimately healing.

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In my blog last week I started describing my experience at a workshop on using sandplay in therapy. A workshop that emphasised the experiential can be powerful on many levels, and last week I hopefully got across how inspired the workshop has left me to use this creative process more often in my therapy and also, how it touched me deeply. It felt like a timely reminder of some of my experiences on retreat, reminding me of what I ‘know’ deep within but needed reminding of.

Day 2 of the workshop was equally profound: we created another 2 trays. We also discussed some of the theory behind the sandplay process, considering as to why it might take clients deeper than conventional talking therapies.