Saturday, 29 May 2010

On Counselling.

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?


Bernard said...

I think you are exactly right.
So many people are afraid of living.
Yes, give help where help is needed, but not at "Every fall at every fence".
I was unfortunately burgled a couple of years ago and, yes, I was asked if I wanted "counselling".
No, thank you.
I like you was brought up during and after the war: we were taught, or shown how to deal with loss, hardship, bereavement and much more, we supported each other and supported ourselves.
What have we now? A "cotton wool society" for "cotton wool" people.
As always Ken, spot on.

Jennytc said...

I think this is a rather simplistic view of counselling. Counselling and psychotherapy has helped many people through difficult times in their lives and is often a preferable alternative to anti-depressants or tranquillizers. Yes, there are indeed, people who are strong enough to deal with what life throws at them without such help, but does that mean that those who are not should be criticized and belittled?
My elder son, who was in the army, suffered from PTSD after being in Kosova and Bosnia and was offered counselling, but of course, the prevalent view in the forces is 'We're men and we just get on with it' so after one session, he stopped going. I often wonder if, had he persevered with the therapy, he might not have committed suicide last year.

Von said...

You all have good points, Jennyta's being the most revealing of why counselling is a necessary part of life for the hard world we live in these days.We all have hard things to deal with, mostly we get on with it, most of us are insulated from the real hardships of life so feel no need.
We need to teach kids better coping mechanisms for living, it used to happen once as Bernard says, it doesn't seem to these days.Sometimes counsellors have to help people learn those ways of dealing with life they weren't taught, sometimes deal with trauma the like of which none of us have experienced or are even likely too.
Don't knock it just because you don't have the need yourself.

Sueann said...

I say do whatever you need to do to get yourself on a positive track. If counseling would help then by all means...get professional help. Also drugs can be of help too...prescribed by the doctor of course. And taken as directed. And don't be afraid to ask for help. That can make all the difference.

An English Shepherd said...

I agree with you Ken about counselling :-)

Lifes to short to worry about it ;-)


Jennytc said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog, Ken. Whilst I agree that, in some cases, counselling training is not good and counsellors are not professional, I'm not too impressed at having my work described as a 'pseudo-career' so you are not off the hook yet! ;)

Troy said...

I totally agree with you Ken.

Freda said...

Counselling helped to get me through some difficult times in my life. I was able to speak about myself without having to worry about the effect on someone else. The stiff upper lip idea of long ago may be alright for some. But I needed a real person to listen.

Nota Bene said...

I would agree with you, but I need to talk with my counsellor first to see what I'm really, truly feeling deep inside....

Sage said...

I tried counselling after a traumatic time last year, I felt as though I was not being listened to and the ultimate insult was being told in the middle of talking that my time was up and come back again in two weeks. I think I would rather cry on a friends shoulder who knows me better than a stranger can and doesn't see me as an inconvenience to their time.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Belated comments for unforseen circumstances. Thanks for all your viewpoints, agreeing with me or otherwise. Part of this 'scene' is an age thing. we oldies were brought up in different times and it shows. I still reckon councelling in general has problems and it shows. which must be irritating for those well trained and well established. And there you have it. It all helps to make the world go round.

Jeanne Estridge said...

The minister at a church I used to attend once said that the problem with counselling is it focuses too much on the past, and encourages people to dwell on their problems.

I agree.

On the other hand, my father saw some horrible things during WWII and was haunted by them, more and more, as he aged, especially in the few months leading up to his death (at the ripe old age of 87). If there was anything that could have helped him wipe out, or at least tame, those images, that might have been worthwhile.