Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A New Perspective

Today I watched Trenda's (Tarot Mama) video blog for the week.  One of the cards she drew from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters was Two Kittens, which I blogged about a few weeks back.  It's also the card that I pulled for myself yesterday as the energy I needed for the day.

Trenda's description put a whole new spin on the card for me.  She talked about having to make a choice between two ideas, two options, be they on the physical, spiritual or emotional level, giving examples of speaking up or making a choice in a relationship.

The idea of choosing to speak up resonated with me after what happened yesterday, when I confronted someone at college.  Also, something about the way she was describing the choice very much on a mental level contrasted with what looked to me more like a choice between two people or things: the cats.

So, I thought, if she's not choosing between the cats, what are they doing in her arms?  Could they actually be something that she holds onto, that supports her in making this choice, in braving change?

Certainly, yesterday when I spoke to the person about something I felt very strongly about, I ended up holding tightly to a water bottle.  It helped as the adrenaline ebbed and I began to tremble.  However, perhaps I would have done better to hold onto the idea of being a psychotherapist, with all that entails.  This happened within a "group" session, which is facilitated by a tutor.  So, we are there as people, yet we are also trainee therapists.  And I ended up saying something in terms which were not therapeutic!  Not that I regret the content entirely, so much as the way I expressed it.

I've written before now about the anger I've been dealing with.  How people clogging the pavement or refusing to stop at a crossing annoys me, especially when I'm in a rush.  In this instance, I felt this person had acted extremely selfishly, in a way which was detrimental not just to myself but to everyone else on the course.  However, I believe my anger was fueled by the fact that I feel like I could really do without any extra burdens!  Especially coming after the exhausting weekend I had just had, made worse by that person's actions on the Friday.

I don't regret choosing to speak up, and I think the content of my comments was justified, but I also acknowledge that not all of the anger was attributable to this particular situation.  I can admit, too, that my language became inappropriate at one juncture.

So, what does all of this mean?  I guess part of the reason that I am chewing it over so much is because it makes me question whether I am fit to be a psychotherapist.  For example, Emma Sunerton-Burl, who is a trained counsellor, supervisor and tarot reader, as well as organising spiritual mountain walks, is always a model of restraint and good sense.  I have known her for years on-line, and met her personally, and in all her interactions she manages to maintain a calm and reasonableness that I find enviable.

Overall, I feel I do a good job with my clients, and I have never behaved inappropriately with them.  However, I wonder what would happen if I were faced with a challenging client who pushed my buttons...  Would I blow up?  Would I feel I had to ask for them to be reassigned?  Should I, with my current anger issues, be dealing with delicate souls? 

And so the card I began with asks me to consider the choice: should I continue on the path to becoming a fully-fledged psychotherapist or not?  And what can I hold onto, who can I be supported by, in whichever choice I make?


  1. you can bet the farm on getting clients who will live to push your buttons. And they will probably never understand their behavior is what pushes people away. You can't fix anyone, simply be a source of better options.

  2. Ooh, I'm so sorry to hear about your stressful encounter, Chloë. I've had my share of them and, as you said, even if the content was justified sometimes I question how my words came off, or whether I should've just kept my mouth shut.

    But honestly, I think we shouldn't. Sometimes we just have to. yes, it's good to avoid doing this ALL the time, but everyone has an overwhelming moment now and again. It's way better than passive aggressiveness or suppression.

    And I KNOW you are going to be a marvelous counselor. You are definitely under a lot of personal and work/school-related stress, and so I'd put your stress and fears in the context of that, rather than this one encounter. Just remind yourself of all the compassion and patience you need from yourself.

    My counselor who I've been seeing for several years is definitely a real and emotive person and she even can be opinionated at times (within reason, you know!) but I would never hold that against her. Most of the time, if people are going be a difficult client there's nothing you can do about it, so it's probably best to let it go.

    I send you wishes for a more peaceful and less chaotic end of the week.


  3. What an excellent post - thank you for being honest with such a challenging topic. I think discernment is the key word here. Because, on one hand, as the saying goes, the only reason bad people get away with so much is because good people don't do anything about it. And yet, on the other hand, you'd get nowehere if you stop to have a word with every Joe Blogs on the street who clogs the pavement or spits on it or etc.

    Doubt has its place yet I'd say perseverance is favourable. Well, I didn't actually say that. Lao Tzu did :)


  4. Hiya,

    Sharyn - I know that there will be clients who press my buttons, I guess I just wonder whether I will be capable of offering them better options...

    MM - thanks for your words of support. I guess I just feel that allowing that kind of explosion in a context where I am being assessed was perhaps not the wisest choice :/ Still, your points about being a real person and about showing myself some compassion are well taken.

    Monica - ah, wise old Lao Tzu :) You make a good point, too, about standing up and being counted. I just question whether that was the best situation in which to make a stand. Oh well...

    Thanks one and all for your comments :)