Wednesday, 8 July 2015


A quote someone gave me recently.  I don't know who the originator was.

With everything that has happened to us,
we can either feel sorry for ourselves,
or treat what has happened as a gift.
Everything is either an opportunity to grow
or an obstacle to keep us from growth.
We get to choose.  

Sounds good,  but just maybe it depends on our circumstances and the depth and nature of what we are dealing with, our loss.  Maybe not quite as clear cut as it appears.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Doing It Together is the Answer

I am regularly contacted by partners seeking information on relationship counselling, including times of availability and the cost etcetera, and which I respond to.  It is not unusual to get an email in answer to mine telling me that their partner cannot be convinced they should attend counselling.  And unfortunately there is no good fairy that lives under their partners pillow to whisper in their ears that if all else is failing, and their partner and they themselves are unhappy in the relationship, as in it is not quite ticking along like it once was, then maybe some assistance could be beneficial. 

Very briefly:
Cost will put a husband or a partner off.
If the television goes on the blink then you get a repair man in, there is no way most would want to do without their TV.  And the likely hood is, you have to pay an hourly rate.  It is probably more expensive than the hourly rate for counselling?  I guess it is not inappropriate to think, that maybe, for some, their television might be more important than their wife or their partner.

What is the dollar value of your relationship relevant to what else you spend money on?

That counselling is primarily a subjective process could be another reason. No definitive assurance can be given that counselling will fix the problem.  Valid reasoning to a point, but of course counselling is not there to fix problems, the only people who can fix the problem in a relationship are those in the relationship.  What counselling can do is assist create the environment, create the space and the mood for two people to examine and critique what is happening between them. The Counsellor is usually also a Facilitator.  Someone with the years of experience, who has, besides the training to achieve the qualifications,  has acquired a vast amount of specialist  knowledge on processes concerning what works and what does not work. Usually will have done lots of research, and has a huge knowledge bank you can have access to.  As well, counselling can give the 'tools' to assist couples deal with their issues so that they have successful relationships. A Counsellor can be a mentor and a guide. So much more...

I could write a book on this subject. Not a task I currently want to do. 

It is a fact that I do receive emails from distressed  partners telling me their husband, their wife, their partner do not want to attend counselling with them.    A question they then ask, is it worth them coming on their own?   If someone is distressed over their relationship the answer is ‘yes’ they should seek assistance to deal with their distress.  Be aware there are obvious flaws in seeking assistance to work alone with relationship issues - usually takes two to tango - to tango successfully you need to be in step with your partner.

Whither two people come to  counselling together the first time, or every time they attend counselling, for me is not critically important.  What is critically important (if the issue is about the breakdown in a relationship then both parties must commit to attending the counselling sessions)... preferably, first time together (how I work) then we take it from there... 

I do regularly see people 'one on one' where a relationship has totally broken down and where one party has not been able to continue in the partnership - it just got too hard.   I assist these people pick up the pieces.  I know for a fact, that more often than not,  it need never have got to that point if only they, together, had sought assistance.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Leonard Cohen

We are not mad. We are human. We want to love, and someone must forgive us for the paths we take to love, for the paths are many and dark, and we are ardent and cruel in our journey.

Sunday, 15 June 2014


Have you been to Takanini recently?   If you haven't then it is worth putting it on your weekend must visit list.  Takanini is changing so fast, its unbelievable. When we came here...lets just say a wee while ago... was more rural than anything else. Paddocks full of race horses keeping the race track, that was then, immediately across the road from us, very busy.  5am in the morning you could hear the horses clip clopping in through the gates.  The Auckland Herald amongst others have taken some beautiful images the track on a misty morning, the horses with their mounts going around the track... very special.

Also immediately across from my home is the memorial to the Walsh Brothers; the spot where the first powered controlled and sustained flight took place in New Zealand on the 5th of February 1911.  103 years ago. 

Yeats: the pilgrim soul in you

We do not allow others to control us once we are healthy, but we do understand and feel their pain when we realize that control is a compulsion.  Most controlling people cannot help themselves, they are not in control of the controlling.
Yeats the poet wrote about the special person who “loves the pilgrim soul in you.” Mirroring freedom means encouraging the liveliness and passion in others rather than squelching it for our own good or safety.  The “pilgrim soul” also implies going. True allowing also means letting someone go. To allow is to stand aside when someone needs space from us or ever leaves us.  

You instinctively seek the full range of motion and emotion in the course of your development, yet you can feel in the psychological air of your home a heartfelt permission to be yourself, to have your own thoughts and to express them without punishment, to make your own choices, even to step out of line.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Lance Morrow

This is an Essay written by Lance Morrow,  Time,  April the 29th. 1991.  I have held on to it since reading it; would have been that weeks issue.  It is a thoughtful and inspiring peace of work....

"We have rafts we cling to in bad weather - consolations, little solidarities, numbers we dial, people we wake up in the middle of the night."  Somehow it is not much fun to wake up to the television set.... the medium is a micro wave.
Television news, when it flies in raw and ragged, can be lacerating.  The medium destroys sequence. Reading restores to the mind a stabilization of linear prose, a bit of the architecture of thought. First one sentence, then another, building paragraphs, whole pages, chapters, books, until eventually something like an attention span returns and perhaps a steadier regard for cause and effect.
War (and television) shatters. Reading, thought reconstructs. The mind is reading is active, not passive - depressive.
Writers make universes. To enter that creation gives the reader some intellectual dignity and a higher sense of his possibilities. The dignity encourages relief and acceptance. I like writers who have struggles with a dark side and persevered. Samuel Johnson, for example; his distinction and his majestic sanity both achieved the hard way. Henry James/Grace Norton wrote, "Remember every life is a special problem which is not yours but anothers and content yourself with the terrible algebra of your own...  We all live together, and those of us who love and know, live so most," he told her. "Even if we don't reach the sun, we shall have at least been up in a balloon." 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Why Relationship Counselling?

I had it brought to my attention recently as to when it comes to issues concerning relationships, and how reluctant we are to share with our extended family and friends,   and understandably so. 

For one, we usually don't want to burden family and friends with our issues as this could cause them distress. Or we might feel that neither parties will be supportive, or they will support one partner but not the other, or be too negative, or will want to give advise. Another reason given is that relationship issues are very personal. There is someone else, another human involved, and their right to privacy it too has to be respected, that is unless they give you the authority to share with others.

 I recognize that when we are angry and beside ourselves with stress our head space does not always allow us to think things out in a reasonable manner.  I think in general terms we do, and when we don't, then the likely hood is we will be disappointed in ourselves for not being more considerate, or for letting our emotions run away with us.  For these reasons, and there are many others, It is extremely important to consider a neutral person, and a neutral space; where being heard, for both parties, is not going to be tainted with a bias. 

Counsellors are not there to guide you as to a decision, they are there to assist you explore and examine your situation. To manage the process, so that what ever the outcome is, it is your outcome, your decision. That you have had the opportunity to put all the different ideas, experiences, history of your relationship, the good and the bad, out there to examine and reflect on.

Counsellors can also offer tools to assist couples in all different scenarios.  We live in a fast changing world. Relationships are such, not that the issues are necessarily more complex, just the array of tools that a Councillor needs to have access to, do need to be much broader than they once were.  Once upon a time a couple was defined as being two people who were married.  Counsellors were called Marriage Councellors.  Today we work with 'Relationship' married and unmarried, same sex, de facto, partnerships, blended families, good friends even, partners who are separated but who have children together and need the assistance of Counsellor to work through issues concerning their children.

Relationship in the context of every day living, it is everywhere, what we look at, our environment, what we feel, what we do, what we are at one with... 

This represent a tiny snippet of what needs to go under the heading of 'Why Relationship Counselling'.