I sat reading the Style magazine recently, this being a section of The Sunday Times concerning fashion and aimed at the ladies. How sad is that. Me reading this 'mag', not the magazine itself. It's my feminine side coming out I presume.
An article by a journalist under the pseudonym Sally entitled 'A Problem Shared' caught my eye, if ever so slightly. It wittered on about the problems experienced by someone whose adult life was being affected by a mother whose temper tantrums were continuing to affect her daughter long into adulthood. A 'non article' really, unexceptional, not very interesting but its a living I suppose. And the part that most caught my eye was the suggestion that, if all else fails, counselling could have a part to play. Counselling to the rescue, yet again for goodness sake. The modern panacea for all life's problems.
I looked up 'counselling' on Google. The were 15,600,00 references to the subject! (There are over a million more references to counselling than to Elvis Presley!) Aids, drug and alcohol abuse; school problems, housing, all no problem, fetch in a counsellor. And when I read a piece from a fourteen year old in Scotland asking how one becomes a counsellor I start to really worry.
Who is he going to counsel and on what I wonder.
At precisely the age of fourteen I was travelling to school on the bus. An army lorry (there were far more of them about in those days) ploughed through two men pushing a handcart of sand as if it and they never existed. And when it came to a stop very little of men, bloodied sand and handcart did in fact exist. We continued to school, did our lessons and went home. What would happen now I wonder. The school, Long Eaton Grammar School was alongside a canal. I remember at breaktime on one occasion a bloated body being fetched out of the water by a man with a long pole. Then the whistle blew and we reluctantly trooped inside for the next lesson.
My mother in law is French. On occasion, though reluctantly, she will tell of travelling to school on occasion and viewing dead soldiers by the roadside. My mother in law is a sensitive, caring, well balanced adult.
In 1953 I arrived home to be told than my mother had died. (There was no father in the household.) I do not remember being told that my mother was in fact ill. I then did what I suppose was a remarkable thing. I went out and did my paper round. To be honest I must have been operating on 'automatic pilot'. In fairness the family did their best to deal with the situation but there were no professional support in those days, counselling, non existent.
I do not wish to take refuge in the past, 'the good old days' are in the main a myth.
I also realise the impression given might suggest an uncaring individual. Not true I hope. I care as much as the next man. Though I concede my life and what I have become, for better or worse has been influenced and affected by an austere, post war upbringing. But I suggest the massive, emphasis on counselling, with a pseudo career for so many is not always healthy. Couple this to a tendancy to offer counselling on every conceivable subject and the subject is devalued in the extreme. What do you think?