Becoming a parent changes many things about how we see the world, but definitely how we view TV! I had expected to become more aware of potentially frightening scenes, and had looked forward to sharing my childhood favourites with my son. I had also expected to participate in my fair share of watching mind-numbing TV.
Pleasantly most of the children's TV we've watched together has been pretty good - and many times I've found myself watching the last few minutes of Ben and Holly or Doc MacStuffins on my own while my son starts a new game!
One of the big lessons though has been just how hard it is to predict what he will find scary, or entertaining. After a trip to the Sea-life Centre we thought 'Finding Nemo' would be perfect (starting it after the mother and siblings have been eaten!) but our little man was not interested at all.
Remembering 'Monster House' as being filled with quite dark scenes of a house trying to eat children we expected our son would be terrified, but it is one of his favourite films!
Being willing and able to see through his eyes, and be in his world, is a challenge but is also very much a core of what counsellors do; we try not to let our own opinions and expectations of what an experience would mean to us interfere with our ability to work with what it means to our client. This is called empathy, being alongside the other person instead of making assumptions about what they might think or feel. In Counsellor speak it is 'using an internal frame of reference'.
Of course the old stereotype exists of the therapist only asking 'so how did that make you feel?' and hopefully your counsellor will have more to them than that one question, but it is also at the heart of everything the counsellor does; they are there to act as a mirror to the client, to help the client see things more clearly, but from their own point of view, and within their own world.
The counsellor doesn’t want to change you as a person, or stop you being you;
they want to help you resolve whatever is troubling you,
and find a better sense of peace in which to like yourself and be happier in your world.