Here and Now

Next Saturday I’m doing a training day. It’s called Working with the ‘Here and Now’ and it’s run by two counsellors who I’ve worked with before and know to be full of experience, empathy, wisdom and fun. I’m looking forward to it, although there is still a part of me that feels anxious: will I make the most of it? Will I be good enough? (Not quite sure for whom!)
That reminds me of the subject matter of the training day, the therapeutic relationship and how to use it to benefit the client. In all relationships, we bring our past with us – our worries about being good enough, well received, hurt or happy – and in the counselling relationship these feelings can be even more intense. Working in the present, directly with that relationship and what is happening between the two of us, needs me to risk being emotional involved, transparent, reflective and vulnerable.
Working with the here and now is based on the idea that clients’ interpersonal issues will eventually emerge in the therapeutic relationship, e.g. a woman with anger issues will eventually feel angry in counselling. Then the focus is on addressing the material that emerges: counselling becomes more about working with the issues as they happen, in the here and now, rather than talking about them in the client’s outside world. This requires bravery: being open to real, in-the-moment relating and that can be frightening. But it is also ultimately so valuable and rewarding. It provides an experience that can be healing, not just an exploration bringing insight.

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