Monday, 22 June 2009
Due to the fact that Blogspirit now wants a few Euros per month for me to stay here I have decided to move. 95% of people in the blogosphere don't pay so I think it is time to go.
You can find me at
Or you will see in the left hand column here under "Blogs I like" - Graffiti.
Just click on it and you are there.
I will keep this blog here for archival reasons.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Whenever I see a client for the first time, I will most often ask lots of questions about them and their life. Things like how many siblings were there, where they come in the line, who lived in their home, what schools they went to, were they bullied and so forth.
One other question I ask is what were they like as a teenager. Were they rebellious or conforming and so forth. The personality research shows that 75% of teenagers do go through a stage of “Storm and stress” as they call it and 25% do not. So 75% do have a significant period of rebellion. If they are in the 25% then it is quite possible that you will have someone who is primarily conformist in their life. They will tend to live too much in the Conforming Child and not enough in the Rebellious Child and some can then have very little idea of their own Free Child. 75% of teenagers spend a good deal of time in the RC and use that as the main means to communicate with others, particularly those perceived as authority figures.
However when I ask this question and listen to the answer I often wonder how would I respond if a therapist asked me such a question. I was never one of those kids who hated school and wanted to burn it down. I think I was reasonably rebellious but I would not say that I was overly so. In fact there may have even been more FC rather than RC.
I was raised with a permissive parenting style. Both my parents tended to do this type of parenting. There was not much that I was not allowed to do. By the time I was 16 or 17 I could basically do what ever I wanted and go where I wanted. However I was not a child who always wanted more and more stuff like bikes, surfboards, clothes, money, etc. So they did not have to say ‘no’ to me in such ways. I was the apple of my mother’s eye and as far as she was concerned I could do no wrong. She was not into telling me off much at all instead she spent much more of her time telling me what I could do and the potential that I did have.
I did not go out of my way to fight the system. I did it a bit but I knew what I wanted. If that did not cause trouble for the ‘system’ then I merrily went about my way and did it. There were times when I wanted to do stuff that the ’system’ had a problem with and then at these times I would be seen as highly stubborn and rebellious. I would be called by my mother - “bloody minded” - I can even here her saying those words now as I write.
For the latter part of my high school I went to one of those free schools that they had in the 1970s. You only went to the classes you wanted to and only did the projects that you wanted when you wanted. The theory being that if you place a child in a open and free learning environment then they will naturally learn and teach themselves. Hey! It sounded pretty good to me at the time!
Me on a camel with my mother
At one point I wanted to arrange a field trip to Rottnest Island (A local holiday resort). The school did not like the idea and my mother was also against it and there was a big ruckus over that one between me and authority. That went on for some time and there was a prolonged battle. I eventually got there but only in a modified form. So that is the kind of thing when I would be rebellious and fight the system. I never went out of my way to fight the system but if I wanted something that the system did not want me to have then I would fight it long and hard. So is that FC or RC?
Now I know what to say if a therapist ever asks me that question.
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
I saw a surprisingly good interview on television a few days ago. It was on one of those current affairs shows that come on right after the 6 o’clock news. Usually they are about shady tradesmen who are ripping off pensioners by getting prepaid for things like painting or gardening only never to be seen again. The news team approaches one of them in the street and he suddenly sprints off down the road with the poor old cameraman in pursuit and the reporter holding on to his trusty microphone hollering out questions that are never going to be answered. That sort of news report that is really more a combination of athletics and journalism as you hear the puffing and panting of the reporter and the cameraman.
However this was most illuminating interview with Chief Judge Antoinette Kennedy. The first woman to be appointed a judge in the state where I live and who is on the brink of retirement. First it is very rare for one of the judiciary to give any sort of interview.
She made a number of most interesting comments. She stated that sometimes she watches TV reports of those who have been involved in a trail in some way and they would say that the result gave them closure or it did not give them closure. She stated that such comments baffled her.
The court or trial system was never set up to give closure to people. That is not its purpose and is not its goal and its never has been. This is a very nice way of saying what I have been saying to clients for many years.
The goal of a trial is to answer a legal question of guilt or innocence. Its goal is not a therapeutic one. It is a court of law not a therapy group. It is not set up to or is trying to give people closure or some other kind of therapeutic gain. Its goal is to answer a legal question. It seems that for many of those involved in trials, they mistakenly look for a therapeutic goal from something that is not designed to provide one.
I have seen many clients who have been involved in various trials for various reasons over the years. My suggestion to them is that they try and emotionally distance them self as much as they possibly can from the trial and its outcome. I suggest that they have as little to do with the trial as possible and when it’s on and getting lots of press they leave the country for a few weeks holiday. It is very likely that something in the trial will result in some sort of further emotional scarring on the person and that is the last thing they need. A court room is not designed to be therapeutic for those listening on.
One does not need an outcome of a trail to get closure or to move on in life. That can be achieved much better long before any trial has taken place. Getting closure is a psychological process that can be achieved no matter what the outcome of a trial is.
The most common type of chronic anger in this community is those who seek or want revenge. Those who state what they want ‘justice’ for the crimes committed against them. These people are chronically angry in that they are holding onto their anger about some unjust act committed against them.
My counsel is to forget about winning the battles and just make sure you win the war. A trial is just a battle. If they feel like justice has not been done or they want further revenge for long periods of time then they certainly have lost the war. They are carrying around chronic anger and there is mountains of literature that clearly shows the physical damage that results from being chronically angry. It is singularly physically damaging and in many instances being closely involved in a trial will just increase the level of anger. It certainly does not help to win the war.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
As a counsellor sometimes I feel like Pinquean Smallcreep. Or more correctly I feel like the factory in which Pinquean Smallcreep worked. Good old Wikipedia gives us a run down on the book “Smallcreep’s Day” which I read in high school and it always fascinated me:
“The story is a surreal satire on modern industrial life. The central character Pinquean Smallcreep works in the slotting section of a vast and labyrinthine factory and has done so for years. He becomes curious about the purpose of the pulley that he puts the slots in and one day, having become obsessed by an idea, leaves his machine and goes exploring through the strange world of his factory. On a quest to find meaning in his monotonous existence, Smallcreep experiences many surreal and disturbing situations. Each scene explores some of the author’s ideas about human relationships, freedom and the value of human life. Some of the scenes are hilarious, some depressing and some macabre. The final two pages are taken up with a powerful vision of the futility of factory work and a passionate cry for the lost dignity of the craftsman.” (end quote)
In recent years with the development of the nanny state in Australia (and the western world) there has been a move away from dealing with deviant behaviour by legal means to dealing with them as a health issue as they call it. The best example is the drug courts which now for minor drug offences redirect the drug user into counselling rather than punishing them through the law.
This theory is an enlightened idea except that it has subtly changed the idea of what counselling is. Another example of when counselling is so used is when an errant sportsman runs off the tracks. A good example of this was recently when a high profile cricketer got drunk at some event and made a mess of himself. He had done nothing illegal and the police were not involved but his behaviour was considered deviant and thus amongst other things he was sent for counselling.
The counselling is meant to convert him into behaving in a non-deviant fashion. It is meant to get him to see the error of his ways and thus he will then behave in ways that are considered non-deviant. This of course changes what counselling is about. In essence counselling becomes as mechanism of social control to make people behave in non-deviant ways. I must say this is a concern for the counselling profession in general. The word counselling gets used regularly in the press in these very circumstances.
I feel like I need to make some sort of public declaration that the counselling I do is not for social control and my goal is not to make people behave in non-deviant ways especially when the ‘deviant’ behaviour is not illegal. Indeed a lot of what I do is facilitating people to accept that their deviant behaviour is OK. If I was referred a sportsman who was sent for counselling because he got drunk and told someone to fuck off in front of the camera, this is what I would do.
1. The administrators of sport are power drunk.
2. They can tell you what to do because they dangle a big wallet of money in front of you and say unless you behave how we want then we wont give you any money.
3. Do you want to continue living under those circumstances?
4. If the answer is no, then the problem is ended
5. If the answer is yes, then you conform but you must never lose your spirit because if one does then one becomes like Pinquean Smallcreep.
The counselling profession needs to distinguish the two. I for one want to distance myself from those counsellors who are used by sporting administrations as a means of social control. That is not what counselling was originally about and it is not what I do.
Saturday, 13 June 2009
I have added another 4 composite blogposts to my website., #46 to #49.
They are on the western society view of death, bereavement counselling and the error of the DSM in the lack of cultural differences in grief. Once again political correctness gets in the way of the truth.