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Sharing what helps...

Have you heard of Sara Bareilles? She’s currently getting plaudits for the music for the West End show ‘Waitress’ but I wouldn’t have noticed that if I hadn’t been introduced to her work by one of my young clients. He shared with me her song ‘Brave’ which was inspiring him at the time and which has inspired me ever since, both the music and the official video. I’m sure it’ll be only too obvious why I like it! Watch and listen here:

One of the joys of being a counsellor is that the learning is endless, from my reading, from courses and, most encouragingly, from my clients. It feels like a tremendous privilege to meet someone in a place of real vulnerability and need, and yet to learn from them – to keep seeing that, however negative a situation might seem, there is the potential for growth, not just for the person themselves but for those around them, including me.

Part of my journey into counselling was experiencing my mother’s severe depressive illness when I was 19. She was treated with electro-convulsive therapy, which, however effective, filled me with horror. I wanted, and still want, to find ways to help myself and others which are not as invasive as that. I’m therefore pro-active in seeking mental health and well-being, attempting to increase what the Dalai Lama calls my ‘mental immunity’, not because I think we can ever avoid suffering entirely, but because I believe there are ways to grow through it and ways to be destroyed by it. I am hugely encouraged then, when a client shares something that has helped them.

Another great ‘share’ by a client was ‘The School of Life’ which he’d found useful to help with a personal relationship issue. If you don’t know it already, it’s a real mine of useful information, presented as both ‘Book’ and videos. I’ve been on one of their day courses and bought several of their books and resources. A favourite, very short, very sensible little number is ‘The Sorrows of Love’

I’d hesitate to recommend a favourite video but a quick browse is almost bound to come up with something of interest.

A more recent client ‘share’ is the fascinating and very readable ‘Habits of a Happy Brain’

This is a great introduction to some basic neuroscience and what we can do to manage our neurochemistry so that we feel better. It’s not the whole story, of course, and was wonderfully balanced by a recommendation by a reader of this blog who mailed me to tell me about ‘The Book of Joy’, an account of a week’s conversations between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, on the subject of what makes us joyful.

I am very grateful to those who share what helps them. If you too would like to share something that might help the work we do here, others who read this blog or indeed, me personally, then please email me:

Thank you – and have a lovely Easter holiday!

Meg Harper, School Counsellor