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Q&A – Can I love and hate someone at the same time?

Q&A


Welcome to this week’s Question and Answer Space!

I hope you find this useful and informative.

These Wednesday posts wouldn’t be possible without your questions, so get asking!

Either leave a comment below with your question, or message me via this contact form.


1

 

This week’s question:

Can I love and hate someone at the same time?

 

 

 

 


2Now this question is something that I encounter many times in many shapes and forms when working with clients, or in every day conversations as well.

Through life experiences we get to a place where things can only be one thing and not two at the same time. Feelings are either good or bad…people are either good or bad… are either good or bad.

good or bad…positive or negative…love or hate…

It’s all-or-nothing. It’s all black or white.

This makes life harder and some feelings, thoughts and situations tricky to navigate through and move on from.

Life isn’t exactly black or white or all-or-nothing. But how do we make peace with something we might have been living with for a long, long time?

How about finding the middle, the greys?

love and hate q&a.pngCan two strong emotions like love and hate co-exist? I think they can! Can we love someone and hate them at the same time? I think we can!

Take the example of a parent telling their child off for behaving in a naughty way. Does the parent hate the behaviour – and maybe the child too –for a period of time? Possibly. Does the parent still love the child despite the behaviour and being unhappy with them for a while? Definitely!

Finding a place in your life where two seemingly opposite emotions co-exist, and accepting that they both exist and co-exist towards a particular person or situation – becoming ambivalent at times – can be helpful in understanding what exactly you are feeling, and work through those feelings.

Avoiding one feeling (hate) because we think we should  be feeling the other one (love) will limit us in our range of emotions and in how we relate with the people in our lives. We are not bad, terrible people for loving and hating someone at the same time.

As with every emotion, it’s temporary and you will go back to feeling what you really feel for that person, it’s just that, at this point in time, they have infuriated or upset you to the point of hate.


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Q&A – Should a therapist tell their client that they will discuss them in Supervision?

Q&A


Welcome to this week’s Question and Answer Space!

I hope you find this useful and informative.

These Wednesday posts wouldn’t be possible without your questions, so get asking!

Either leave a comment below with your question, or message me via this contact form.


1

 

Today’s question comes from a colleague. She asks:

Should a therapist tell their client that they will discuss them in Supervision?

 

 

 


2

I will first answer from what I do in my own practice, and then confirm and add on with what the BACP Ethical Framework says.

 

When I meet a client for the first time, I make sure that they know that what they say in the room, will stay in the room, except in a few specific circumstances:

  • I explain that I have regular supervision, and that I discuss my clients in this space, which is also confidential and professional. This arrangement is for the benefit of myself as a therapist but also to keep my practice in check and to ensure the support I give my clients is to a high standard both ethically and professionally.
  • Q&AWhere there are child protection issues, or harm to self and others (I will discuss with my clients in these cases).
  • Where there are terrorism or money laundering related alerts (In this case I don’t need to alert the client, as am required to report by law).

 
The BACP Ethical Framework
says that clients should be informed of their case being discussed with a supervisor

“to maintain the quality of the service they are receiving and to support and enhance the practitioner’s expertise”.

It adds that in some circumstances, the client will need to know who the supervisor is:

  • Conflict of interest where the client is a counsellor in personal therapy and the supervisor might be their colleague.
  • The client might know the supervisor on a personal level.

    Q


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Q&A – Is it OK for counsellors to talk about their clients in their personal therapy?

Q&A


Hi and welcome to this week’s Question and Answer post!

I hope you find this useful and informative.

These Wednesday posts wouldn’t be possible without your questions, so get asking!

Either leave a comment below with your question, or message me via the contact form below.


1This week’s question comes from one of my lovely Twitter followers.

She asks:

Is it OK for counsellors to talk about their clients in their personal therapy?

 


2Firstly, thanks for this very important question, following my last post about a therapist disclosing their own attendance to counselling.

Another thought that might cross that client’s mind would be “oh! does that mean they are talking about me in their therapy?, I’m not sure how to feel about that!”


The first point I’d like to make is that therapy is as confidential for your therapist as it is for you when you see your counsellor. The therapist’s counsellor is bound by the same ethical frame that your therapist is when working with you. So in this aspect, I would say not to worry about this.


Second, I can see why this might be a worry to you. Now, if we think about it in regards to your own therapy…you talk about other people to your therapist, people who your therapist has never and most likely will never meet. You might mention their name, John, Mary, Laura. But your therapist doesn’t know much more than their first name, so in a way they are anonymised.

Is it OK for counsellors to talk about their clients in their personal therapy_I believe that if I were to talk about my clients with my therapist, I would only use their first names, or sometimes not even use a name and say “I have a client that…”, which would keep you completely anonymised.  Your therapist’s supervisor might live in a different town (mine does, I supervise online!) so the chances of you two meeting or figuring out who you are is very slim.

I would say, if you don’t want to be talked about – except in your therapist’s Supervision – it is your right to ask the counsellor to respect your boundaries. Of course, this might need to be disregarded in a limited amount of cases that counsellors do have to report such as child protection issues, terrorism related disclosures, money laundering and the possibility of you (or someone you know) harming yourself or others.


A third thing to consider is the fact that the therapist goes to counselling to work through their own thoughts and feelings, making the clients or people they might talk about secondary to their feelings and thoughts. Their therapist will help them refocus on themselves rather than dwell on things that could be better dealt with in Supervision or with the client themselves.


Finally, as I said in the previous question – if the therapist is in therapy themselves, and if the therapist is talking about their clients in their therapy, the worst that can happen is that they work through something that will in turn help their clients work through what they bring in further sessions. A similar process happens in supervision.


This is what I feel and believe about the topic at hand. I found this link where the therapists answering the question have further ideas and thoughts about this exact question.

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I hope this has answered your question, and if you have any further comments or questions, do leave me a message below!


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Q&A – My counsellor mentioned that they are seeing a therapist, should I be worried?

Q&A


Welcome to this week’s Question and Answer post!


I hope you find this useful and informative.

These Wednesday posts wouldn’t be possible without your questions, so get asking!

Either leave a comment below with your question, or message me via this contact form.


1

This week’s question, from a counselling client, points to a very important part of the therapeutic relationship and how it might be affected by a variety of things:

My counsellor mentioned that they are seeing a therapist, should I be worried? Should I find a new therapist?


2

This is a very good question, and one with many layers to my answer.

First, there is the topic of self-disclosure.

Some counsellors would never tell their clients about what goes on in their private life, whilst others might not blink in telling their clients certain things, especially if they are for the benefit of the client.

I would need a bit more context to see what the purpose of your therapist telling you this was. I don’t see much harm in this disclosure though, which takes me to my next point.

Second, there is the ethical background to a therapist having their own therapist. Every counselling course asks that the trainees attend personal therapy for the duration of the course. If a course doesn’t, then I’d doubt their ethical and professional grounding (but that’s just me!). So for us in the profession, talking about going to our own therapy is more common than you’d think!

I hope that helps ease your mind a bit about your therapist attending their own therapy!

Q&A (1)

Third, there is the question of how you feel about your relationship with your counsellor. How long have you been working with them, how helpful have they been, how would you feel about starting again with a new counsellor? Can you work through your worries with them about their disclosure?

Lastly, I would say be worried if your therapist has never been to therapy themselves! I have seen and hear of people working as counsellors and supervisors that get overwhelmed with their clients’ stories and distress that they leave the job or make big mistakes and do more harm than good to their clients and themselves! Others might not know how to work through the various situations that come up in therapy (transference, projective identification – or the feelings that come up for the therapist in response to what the client tells them) this might lead to reacting in a way that harms the therapeutic relationship and makes the situation worse for the client!

I’d say it’s healthy and recommended for therapists to have their own therapy, whether i be every week, every fortnight, or have catch up sessions when things are getting a bit much in their practice.


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Q&A – What should you do when you don’t know what to do?

Q&A


Welcome to this week’s Question and Answer post!


I hope you find this useful and informative.

These Wednesday posts wouldn’t be possible without your questions, so get asking!

Either leave a comment below with your question, or message me via this contact form.


1This week’s question comes from a member of the public:

What should you do when you don’t know what to do? I feel like I should be doing something, but I’m not sure what that is.


2  This is a very broad question, but I’m sure he’s not the only one facing such a moment in life.

This is one of the topics that might come to me from someone requesting counselling sessions.

Feeling stuck or like you lost your path is something that happens to all of us as human beings. So the first thing I want to say in response is that there is nothing wrong with feeling like this, you are only being human.

In a world where we are expected to always be doing something and keeping busy, knowing exactly what we want from life and what we really want to do might be something that’s sent to the back burner until things get too much and we are faced with the prospect of change.

So what should you do when you don’t know what to do? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Stop punishing or judging yourself for reaching a place where you don’t know what to do with your life.
  • Take time out from thinking about what you want to do and think about what you don’t want to do. This will narrow down the list of things that you want to do and allow you to stop wasting time on thinking about those things that you really don’t want anything to do with.
  • Go to counselling sessions to uncover the why’s of feeling this way now, as well as finding your path in life again.
  • Focus on what’s important for you , what makes you happy, and within that, you might find the answer to “what to do”.
  • Forgive yourself for not knowing – who said to you that you had to know everything all the time?
  • Try to enjoy the place where you are in life right now, whilst considering what small changes you can start making to find out what you want to do and move out of those activities and things that you don’t want anymore.
  • Surround yourself with positive people that can help you figure this out. Sharing the burden makes it easier. Feeling understood and knowing you are not alone in this journey will also relieve your anxiety and stress about what to do.

Dear readers, if you have any further suggestions or answers to his question, feel free to message me or leave a comment below!


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Q&A – What should a therapist do when the client keeps asking for suggestions over and over again in therapy?

Q&A


Welcome to the very first post of Q&A Wednesdays!


I hope you find this useful and informative.

These Wednesday posts wouldn’t be possible without your questions, so get asking!

Either leave a comment below with your question, or message me via this contact form.


1

This first question comes from a fellow psychotherapist that has just started her career. She asks:

What should a therapist do when the client keeps asking for suggestions over and over again in therapy?

 


2There are a few things to take into account when answering this question.

 

First, the therapist asking is starting their career. I can only assume that it is feeling a bit overwhelming to be seeing her first clients, as happens to all of us when we first start as therapists or in any new endeavour for that matter!

In regards to this last observation, I would say to her, take your time in processing what is demanded of you, take it to supervision, and know that you don’t have to answer to the client’s demand for suggestions as such. You can explore what this is about, why the client wants suggestions – I am again assuming that they want advice rather than an exploration of their situation and to resolve it together.

Second, giving advice is something that we are not meant to do as therapists. An easy but obvious reason for this is that what I might suggest your client does might be something that makes sense for me, from my own story and circumstances. It might work for me, but let them go and try the exact same thing and you will possibly have a client angry at you for suggesting such a thing.

I will tell my clients, if they ask for advice (I try to say this on the first session to avoid misunderstandings, but these things are not one-off’s), exactly what I’ve just said – I am not here to give advice but to support through the process of working through their issues so they can get their life back on track. This in turn means more than an easy fix – the stuff we work through will generate deep and meaningful change in the person’s mind, heart, and subsequently in their relationships.

Don’t be afraid to voice this in his way, as clients will appreciate your honesty and the fact that you are there to help, just maybe not in the way they expected!


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