When I was six I won a game of ‘guess how many sweets are in the jar’ at my dad’s office party, by cheating. Somewhat pathetically, rather than guess my own number, I copied the number that before mine on the sheet. Only I copied it down wrong. I’ve always felt slightly guilty about that incident, but I’ve managed to turn that sort of guessing into a job. Very often, in the course of a session, I will make a stab at guessing what my client is feeling. I don’t [...]
At last, after an unexplained (and inexplicable) gap, I’m back to my alphabet. E is for Enquiry. I’m not talking about the judicial kind, that purports to find facts and then seeks retribution, compensation, apology and changes in the law (though I understand the purpose and importance of these if they’re conducted well). No, I mean enquiry as opposed to assuming you know the answer already; enquiry as opposed to being too frightened to ask; enquiry as opposed to believing your opinion is the one that matters, along with winning [...]
Back to my alphabet and D is for dogs-in-clothes. I was intending to make these posts about Compassionate Inquiry and at the very least life coaching, but this is just a rant. I can’t stand dogs in clothes. Or not so much the dogs, but the fact they someone has got them dressed. I can make an exception for shivering whippets in old fashioned quilted coats, or even a waxed jacket. But enterprising little westies in grubby acrylic arun-style sweaters with four sleeves and a bum hole, bulldogs in camo [...]
C is for Christmas. With our minds we make Christmas, and with previous Christmases we make our minds. Might be worth bearing in mind around 4.20 tomorrow afternoon.
In response to overwhelming popular demand (at least three people have mentioned in passing that they miss my alphabet posts), I am resuming my A to Zs today. I've recently started a year-long professional training in an a therapeutic approach called Compassionate Inquiry, developed by Gabor Maté - you can read about it here: https://compassionateinquiry.com/. I am utterly gripped, absorbed and stimulated by this work - it's makes so much sense to me and is already transforming my work. With all the enthusiasm of the new devotee I expect many [...]
U is for unpick. Yes, on one level following on from the Sewing Bee theme, it's about the ready-and-willingness to unpick a seam, a hem, a wonky line of top stitching, important if you want to make anything of quality. Unpicking in life, though, is what I’m thinking about. The willingness to go back to a situation, consider the motivations, the intentions; what did you feel, what needs did you have, met and unmet; what went on for the other person? The willingness, sometimes, to return to the person affected and say, when you [...]
N is for needs, and in particular Maslow’s hierarchy of them. Depicted as a pyramid, broadly it’s based on the idea that every human being must have physical needs, such as warmth, food and shelter satisfied before you can start to worry about whether you’re in the right career. It’s a useful starting point for a getting ourselves to think and talk in the language of universal human needs rather than how we’d like everyone else to behave differently. The awareness of our and others’ needs is the starting point [...]