As It Is or As I Am – the Art of Becoming

A journey … towards … being

Tag Archives: Carl Rogers

A brave new ending?

A comment following a recent Facebook post I made, asked the question “What will be your new ending?” I’m not sure if the question was rhetorical or not? Anyway, decided to give a longer answer here, as on reflection various thoughts came to me. My status was commenting on a Brene Brown blog post –
“When we deny our stories, they define us.

When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”

This reminds me of something Carl Rogers wrote that I have seen occur in so many people and clients lives:

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

For me the two quotes blend or merge together in truth. When we deny things about ourselves, is it not the same as not accepting ourselves, as to who we currently are or where we are?

Accepting and owning our stories is often painful, as well as, initially shaming. How can we admit those things (that happened to us, that we did or still do, that we thought, felt or feel now) to ourselves, let alone anyone else? Yet, if we don’t as Brene Brown writes they will still “define us”. Anger will shape us, the addiction will swap us, the racism, the homophobia will shape our worldview.

Once we acknowledge we are an angry person, that we have an addictive personality, that we are racist, homophobic, look down on others who are different from us, or share any other not so nice quality, we can change. Such acceptance will bring shame. It will be painful to admit such to ourselves. Once we do so there is an inner freedom that comes – a release from the shame that debilitates us and prevents from real change. Underlying this acceptance and facing the shame is a willingness to be vulnerable.

However, such self confession, I believe, does not mean we are a bad or unworthy person. Are we not all filled with mistakes from our past, in our present and will yet make in our future? As we recognise, in our hearts, in our being, not just in our head and mind, that we are not bad, that yes, we may have done something not so good, the shame begins to diminish. Something happens inside us, that allows us to move through the shame and onwards towards change, to a new ending.

It is not so much about being faultless. Can we ever be? Is it not rather about our becoming, our changing, so we can “write a brave new ending” – whatever that ending will be?

Your ending will not be the same as my ending. Our endings may intersect, but we each will have our own ending.

Though, I wonder a little at describing this change as a “new ending“, brave or otherwise. Can we ever know our ending? I’d personally rewrite Beren’s sentence as:

“When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new beginning.”

The Curious Paradox – a poem published

Have wondered about posting this for a while now.  Have had 3 poems published in January’s Person Centred Quarterly.  The one below I feel more towards. Is that what you say regarding  a poem? I know I posted this before, but now it’s been published thought I’d share it again 🙂

The Curious Paradox

can I accept myself just as I am, so then I can
change?
to do such, seems unlikely, to accept something so
strange…

perhaps, though, if you can accept the strangeness I
feel within,
the silliness, the faults, the weirdness, the wrongs I
feel, even the sin,
real or imagined, felt or imposed, they all lie within,

myself… just as I am,
as you accept me as I am,
so I am able to accept myself just as I am

as you listen, as you accept me, just as I am
as you feel as I feel, just as I am,
at least, a possibility of change becomes real,
thus change encircles me as I heal,
as I embrace you fully in return,
together we change, as from each other we learn
as, both of us, the healing encircles,
changes come, as unrecognised miracles

so then I change?
so then we change?

one type of strange,
to another type of strange
to yet another type of strange,

from a moth, to a chrysalis, to a butterfly,
from where I was, to where I am, to where I will be,

yes, for as was once written:

“The curious paradox is that
when I accept myself just as I am,
then I can change.”

so then will change come?
yes, if … you desire
yes, if … we desire
yes, if … I desire

Counselling Diploma passed!!

A short while ago I submitted my portfolio for review and examination.  This morning had an email from the senior tutor, where I had studied, that I have passed the ABC Diploma in the Theory and Practice of Counselling.  As stated in the course guide, the course philosophy was:

The course is based on the theory and values of the Person-Centred Approach as developed by Carl Rogers. We believe as Rogers wrote that:

Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for  altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes and self directed behaviour; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.  [A Way of Being, 1980, p115] 

The aim of the course tutors is to provide a climate for growth that will enable each student to develop their own “way of being”. The learning group will have the opportunity to take responsibility for shaping the course and directing their own learning.

So the many years of study, placements, etc. come to fruition.  Still much to continue to learn and develop.  Don’t ever really see at end to that.

Two things to sort out now:

  • Insurance
  • Place to practise
  • Change the title of this blog 🙂
So the beginning of another journey or the continuation of an existing journey?
For me, both …

“Dependency and the Person-Centred Approach”

Months ago I said I’d answer this question – so answer it I will, though it will be from my own perspective as from my reading, browsing and searching have not yet discovered much that relates to the subject.  Apart from the quote to the right from Brian Thorne: “If therapy has been successful, clients will also have learned how to be their own therapist“.  The implication I take is that is you no longer need a therapist, there is no dependency.  That of course is the ultimate aim, hopefully the end result of any counselling that has taken place.  Before that is reached there will no doubt be some type of dependency.   Ideally there should be none, as any relationship between a person-centred counsellor and client should be as equal as possible.  There will no doubt be some inequality, but that should be very limited. Through the attributes of acceptance, empathy and congruence the client will hopefully see the counsellor not as an expert or the expert, in knowing what the client should do or be, but as someone who is there to assist the client in getting to know them self more, to discover things that had either been deliberately, or unconsciously hidden. The object being to come to terms with who they were, who they are now and who they wish to be, recognising that we are never static in our being, that “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.”  This links for me with another statement from Carl Rogers: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”  As I come to understand where I have come from, where I am, then I can more powerfully change my future, if I wish to.

Reading this over, it probably doesn’t really answer the question asked.  Ah, well … maybe next time 🙂
As always, any thoughts or comments appreciated (or further questions 🙂 ).

Get Bigger Than What’s Bugging You!

The below links are to PDFs that were created by Ann Weiser Cornell. Ann has created a 5 day e-course, which as the title suggests results in you getting an email once a day for 5 days.  Each day builds on the next.  Ann has kindly said they PDFs can be shared, so long as they are not altered in any way.  They are in their original form.  Once this post is made, I will be emailing Ann with the link in case she disapproves.  If she does this post will be removed.

The general idea is connected with the title of one of Ann’s books: The Radical Acceptance of Everything: Living a Focusing Life – where she expresses an idea very similar to Carl Roger’s words: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”  Ann’s words being: “When you accept yourself, your whole life changes.”

Day 1 – …… something in me is (or feels) ……

Day 2 – …… and I’m saying hello to that ……

Day 3 – …… and I’m placing a gentle hand over it ……

Day 4 – …… and I’m sensing ……

Day 5 – …… and no wonder ……

Give each day a try. As said they build on each other.  So, start with Day 1, then Day 2 and so on.  By the time you get to Day 5 most will experience some change they have been looking for.  I’d be very interested in any feedback, as to how anyone experiences things – good, not so good or nothing at all.  Where some clients  requested something specific they could try, have suggested these steps and for many there have been significant changes.

Another of Ann’s books I posted on last year.

Edit: Just had email from Ann giving permission to use her PDFs.

2nd Term diploma summary

A busy term, leading to changes.  With each evening felt closer to each of the other students.  There were, however, two main turning points.  First was the feedback sessions, which we had to both give and receive.  Giving was the more difficult.  I just didn’t feel I knew enough about each person to say much of worth.  Having gone into the second year of this diploma course I’d only had 6 months of opportunity to get to know the other students, whereas they’d had 18 months to get to know each other.  Of course, the same applied for each of them relative to myself, only having known me for 6 months.

As I persisted feelings came, with words to express them.  There was though one individual whom I could not just get anything.  I confronted a choice – make something up or just agree with what others were saying. As others were sharing their feedback, kept trying to feel for myself. Nothing came. After everyone else had spoken, to keep congruence, I took a deep breath and said something along the lines of: “I’m really sorry, but I don’t feel I know enough to say anything – nothing has come to me”.  What at face value could have been a negative experience, both for the other person and myself, turned into an opening of hearts.  After the feedback had concluded, in the break, I approached the person expressing my apologies for not saying anything of value to her.  There was no bad feelings, just a welcome and appreciation for being honest about my feelings.  The person then shared a great deal with me.  I am convinced had I not been congruent, this sharing would either never have taken place or been delayed by weeks or months.  This experience confirmed to me the need for congruence “with kindness”.

After this experience my feeling is I became gradually more open with the group during PD time.

Receiving feedback was great – must admit to being pleasantly surprised by people’s comments.

We also had a residential weekend, which was a wonderful experience. As I try to isolate one experience or event above another, for me, it was the ad hoc moments that contributed more to my personal development and growth. I recall two occasions when I sat talking with individuals where we each shared more than previously with each other. One in particular started as a general chat about life, slowly moving deeper, then, all of a sudden for me, tears came as I realised something or rather had something reinforced to and about my whole self. Tears of joy I would add 🙂  Wonderful.

Another memorable experience was working in a small group of 4 for a presentation.  It allowed the seeing of different sides of each other.  Unlike working in some groups over the years  there were no egos.  We were all open to each others ideas, feelings and thoughts.  There seemed full acceptance of each other. Yes, of course, there were occasions when someone thought another person’s idea was not the best.  Yet, that was able to be explored and examined.  Because of the acceptance I was able to express congruently my feelings, as were others.  It was a great opportunity to demonstrate Carl Rogers “way of being”, that the core conditions cannot and are not just to be turned on for the counselling room, but are becoming or perhaps have, in varying degrees, become part of my life.

Some Person-Centred links and a new theme

The observant will see a new theme when viewing the blog.  Why? Felt like time for a change.

Have also added a few links to some person-centred sites.  Couple of organisational ones. Plus one with information regarding Carl Rogers and then the personal sites of Allan Turner and Dave Mearns.

Hope these are useful to any who are interested in this particular approach to counselling.  Over time will add information about other sites dedicated to counselling and related topics.  Hope this information will be of value to those interested in counselling, from both the therapist and client side.  Most information here relates to the Person-Centred Approach (PCA).  This is mainly due to a personal preference for that approach.  Would say, however, that I feel all methods of counselling have their place.  Do not think it would be right to put one against another.  We are all different and respond differently to different approaches, as we indeed all respond differently to different counsellors.

Re-creation or just recreation?

Time for a break from the paid employment.  This afternoon I begin a  two week holiday.  This year I feel more excitement at being off work than any previous year.  Why?  What lies behind those feelings?  Well, our son returns from 2 years in Hong Kong.  It will be wonderful to see and be with him again.  We both will have changed significantly.  Him or myself the more? Who knows until we meet. I’m sure everyone else in the family has likewise made changes. I hope we are all able to accommodate with acceptance and appreciation each other’s changes and glory in them rather than the opposite.

Just looking forward to being with my family for two weeks. No plans as such – just being together. For myself, no plans means less disappointment when activities don’t go the way they were hoped for. I appreciate that others will not see that – many people like to have a set plan for time off work.  I’ll be happy just walking , talking,  eating,  reading,  just being together.  For me, its the being, rather than the doing.

As the title of the post suggests, for me a holiday is time for re-creation of one’s self and connections with others.  Not just a time for recreation or just playing around – though of course some time playing can assist in one’s re-creation. Not just theme parks or tourist site visits, but time being and coming together.

Yes, part of the time will be for reading – purchased Without Buddha I Could Not be a Christian– have lately struggled with Love and Lossfinding it hard to get into. Not that I’m saying it is not a great book. From the portion I’ve read I’d say it is. I feel that certain books we can only appreciate when we are at or in, a certain point of development. I recall picking up Carl Rogers Client Centred Therapynearly 20 years ago and struggled with it. I picked it up about 2 years ago and read it with ease. Maybe soon I’ll get back into Love and Loss.

More Books

Two new books to be read – “The Carl Rogers Reader” edited by H. Kirschenbaum, but content all by Rogers himself and “Human Development” by Eric Rayner, Christopher F. Clulow, Mary Twyman, John Rose & Angela Joyce. The “Carl Rogers Reader” was a Christmas present from two of my children. Still haven’t quite completed “Person-Centred Counselling Training” by Dave Mearns. Will put effort into competing it by end of this week and then must concentrate on the essay on listening skills for the course. Once the essay is finished (am contemplating posting the essay here – probably will do so, once it has been graded and marked) will then begin “Human Development”, as it is assigned reading for the next term of the counselling course. With the course being psycho-dynamic the book takes that approach as well. On average we will be covering two chapters per evening, so will need to read at least two chapters ahead of each evening. We don’t start back until 16th Jan, so have time to get ahead. Will also read one chapter of the “Carl Rogers Reader” per week, to balance the approach between psycho-dynamic and person-centred.

Out of the two approaches still have stronger leanings towards person-centred. Maybe this term will see a shift in that? Though have discovered a person-centred Diploma in Counselling at BCUC. As it is wholly person-centred, rather than half person-centred and half psycho-dynamic or half some other approach it appeals to me greatly. Considering applying.

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