Just one line

Just one line

How can thinking of one word make difference in counselling, parenting, or facing anyone in an emotional state?

In one my one counselling roles I was asked to record my time (to share with a line manager). It’s difficult because counselling is confidential but you still need to be accountable. After some discussion I agreed to a client code, date, time and a short sentence.

For example:

BHAN1 12\12\18 60mins – Contracted, agreed focus of work, grief.

BHSI1 12\12\18 60mins – Explored mixed impact of family relationships.

BHSI1 13\12\18 50mins – Uncovered trigger to anxiety, planned next session.

Initially I was annoyed, it’s always frustrating having to justify yourself and it was difficult judging how much to share, retaining confidentiality but also looking productive and professional.

However quickly it became the normal addition to my more detailed client notes. In fact it usually made me think more. Client notes are easy to write, this is what was discussed, planned etc. But defining a session into a very short sentence or word was harder. It helped me unpick what was really being felt amongst long winded descriptions, and often helped me reflect on the focus of the work. Occasionally doing this small task influenced my entire approach in my next session.

I will sometimes do it now, I don’t need to keep the same record of work but I use the strategy. I doodle a word whilst thinking about a client and think about what that word means.

In one session focused on the stress of being new parent the word was communication, another session focused on anxiety gave the word confidence. Sometimes forcing yourself to minimise gives a focus or understanding of what is underpinning all the talk.

This can be useful even if you are not a therapist, imagine you are a parent in an ongoing argument with your teen, it’s about something ridiculous like dishes . Take a moment, think either your young person if you wish to understand them, or yourself if you want to know what’s going on for you… what one word comes to mind?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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