Stepping on every other paving slab – why not?

A lot of clients I see for depression have come to me because I am their last hope.  They tried counselling and all types of therapy and now depend on drugs for an even keel. Their paths are set in their minds.

I am going to stick my neck out here but I truly believe that no one is born depressed. Oh, I concede there are genetics and stuff but as a rule I won’t accept that things have to be just because no one has been able to prove otherwise – yet!

I don’t believe our paths are set but I do believe that an ideal destination has been, that’s specific for each of us.  Years ago the Romans built one long straight road.  I believe you can walk that or rather let it lead you and that you can take a few detours and have a look around on your trip.

The people that come to me with depression can only see the one road.  They can’t see the signs all around them detouring them off for the scenic route. The drugs make that road easy but also keep you on that road, obliviousness to the scenic detours.

The first thing I say to them when they tell me there is no hope is ‘why are you here then?’ They come because something in them – a fire, a life force won’t give in. I believe it’s that life force that helps us choose the paths we want to take to our destination. If life really won’t get any better what’s the problem with just humouring me and taking a detour – you have nothing to lose after all.

Through Cog Hyp I gently lead them off the road and we take a minute to enjoy the view or the new perspective. We walk further down the detour and find it’s a different country with new experiences, the air tastes better…..

My clients say ‘that was nice but when I leave your hut I am back on my path, you can’t change fate’. But here’s the thing.  No I can’t change your fate when you leave my hut you step back into the reality of your life.  I ask my clients to notice the paving slabs leading them away from my hut and again, just to humour me, walk beside them or miss every second one on the way out.  Sounds simplistic but depression is an enormous weight and burden. It’s a prison. There is no escape in my client’s minds. The path is set.

Tiny changes equal changes that seem so insignificant to my clients but start to change their mind set.  Ever watched two ocean liners? One has a slight compass change, maybe only half a degree out on the other. For ages they run side by side but every hour they are slightly further apart.  It’s so small a change you could not notice it but over time that tiny half a degree will have them thousands of miles apart, heading to different destinations. Clients struggle to notice that half a degree but the course is set and the path has been changed.  I love it when one day they look out from the helm of their ships and realize their paths have changed. Step off the path or dare to miss every other paving slab – who knows where it could lead?

  * Disclaimer: results may vary from person to person

Tree pruning v get the root out

Tree pruning v get the root out…..

I was looking back through my client notes and noticed I draw the same picture in every initial consultation – a very sad looking tree. The reason is, pictures speak a thousand words. I draw a tree with branches and put their presenting issue on one of the branches. I explain that a lot of ” therapists” will butcher the branch off and that for a few weeks their presenting issue will go. But, as with all weeds, if you do not get to the root it will grow back, stronger and slightly different.  The problem is made worse.

An example.

In my early days of being a therapist I had a lady come to me who wanted to loose weight. She was hell bent that chocolate was the problem. Being keen and naive I dealt with the chocolate issue and loved the accolade of her telling everyone how great I was because she did not eat chocolate anymore!  A few weeks later she was back – no weight loss – yes she had stopped eating chocolate but had now developed an obsession for jelly babies. I was at fault for disregarding all my training and going for the quick fix or sticky plaster. I did not look for the root. Now this could have gone on for months and each time I removed her craving for something – something else would have stepped in.

Clients want you to sort them out quick and a lot of therapists will happily take your money and prune your branch.  Oh you will keep going back because you will be amazed that they stopped you eating chocolate – but in my humble opinion they are failing you and my profession. Now when I draw my trees I put the roots in.  I tell this tale allowing me and my client seek out the root. You know, if you get to the root, it can’t live or grow and so the issue goes and a strange thing happens – the weight goes too!.

Yep its quicker to get the branches pruned but it’s pointless and expensive. So I guess I will continue to draw a tree for all my clients so we can both set our sights on doing the job properly and getting to the root of the issue.


  * Disclaimer:  results may vary from person to person