The Shadow and the Counsellor: Working with Darker Aspects of the Person, Role and Profession

The Shadow and the Counsellor: Working with Darker Aspects of the Person, Role and Profession

The Shadow and the Counsellor: Working with Darker Aspects of the Person, Role and Profession

The Shadow and the Counsellor: Working with Darker Aspects of the Person, Role and Profession

Synopsis

The Shadow and the Counsellor introduces the concept of shadow, the darker side to ourselves that we do not wish to acknowledge, or do not even recognise. It examines how it comes into being and explores its impact within counselling. The Shadow and the Counsellor is structured around a six stage model which is designed to help the counsellor recognise, confront and deal with their 'shadow' side. This can then be a framework for reflection and practical action.With case studies including short clinical examples to longer examples running through the book, this will give counsellors a new way of approaching their practice.

Excerpt

There was a moment with a client when I suddenly became aware that what I was saying could be understood to imply that I was above or beyond the everyday human struggles that she had been describing. My comment was seemingly innocuous, I simply said ‘That must have been really hard for you’ as she described a situation where she felt torn between the conflicting demands others were making of her. However, I recognised a flavour of superiority underlying the tone with which I delivered my supposedly empathic intervention. On hearing my own words in this way I was shocked, for I would not accept the suggestion that I consider myself to be free of the difficulties that others experience. To back up my view I would be able to cite examples of areas in my life that are at times problematic and unsatisfactory. Yet despite this knowledge of my own struggles, if I am to apply the honest self-reflection I would hope to see in others then I must accept that somewhere within my psyche lurks the belief that I am beyond such mundane matters. I must accept this because I heard my words as ‘other’ to how I perceive myself.

What am I to do with this piece of information? If left unchecked it might develop into an absurd and highly damaging fantasy: a belief that I am in some way omnipotent, beyond human vulnerability. Indeed, this sense of grandiosity may be growing outside of my conscious awareness and what a sorry figure I would then become. Added to the dangers this incipient belief may herald for me is the potential impact upon my client, for if I can hear my words in this manner so, presumably, can she. This could have a damaging effect upon her: it might drive her further into feeling herself to be inadequate, or increase her dependency upon me by fostering the belief that I am some sort of super-being to whom she must look up.

What am I to do? I do not support this belief consciously yet it would appear to exist within me. Furthermore, I work within a profession where others may perceive me in a somewhat distorted manner. In the role of

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