I attended a conference in Darlington a few days ago, the subject being shame. It was inspiring, educational, challenging and disturbing. It was good. I learned a lot and — for the first time in my life — asked the presenter to sign two of her books for me. That too was okay. Apart from the workshop I also picked up little anecdotes, one especially talked about rules. When the presenter plucked up courage to see a counsellor, the therapist said to her that she had three rules:
1. Don't hurt me.
2. Don't hurt yourself.
3. Don't turn up drunk.
Simple, concise and full of common sense. Something else I learned was that therapists have attended therapy school but clients very rarely, if at all, attend client school. They might not know what's expected of them. Will people walk in on them? Are they expected to give the right answers to questions? What happens if they get stuck? Will the therapist still accept them if they say something disturbing? So another rule, or maybe not so much of a rule but a statement I would like to add at the beginning of all counselling sessions:
"I believe in you."
That's where we begin. The rest of the journey is built on that premise.