COUNSELLORS: LOOKING AFTER OURSELVES AND BUILDING RESILIENCE

Le Canigou

As I began this blog, my husband just read the word resilience by mistake as re-silence and that seemed to link perfectly with what I wanted to write about.

When working with people experiencing severe distress on a daily basis, it is vital that we realise the accumulative effect of such work and look after ourselves. When we are grounded and balanced in our own lives, as best we can be, we are more able to be truly present to our clients. Clinical supervision and continuous professional development enables us to be alive to our own journey but we can easily become depleted emotionally, physically, mentally, creatively and spiritually. Everyone has different needs and different ways of recharging, what’s important is that we don’t force ourselves to work on ‘empty’.

There’s a place I walk…yesterday, I looked through a long tunnel of a mixed oak and pine forest directly into the sun and there was what I call a ‘sunstar’, tendrils of light appearing to thrust themselves towards me out of the tunnel, like a firework. It made me smile. I went and sat down on a low stone wall, the smell of pine mingled with the persistent scent of ripe grapes being harvested on the slopes far below. I sat kicking my heels onto the wall feeling like a small child, at peace and yet excited by the landscape in front of me that widened out to include the navy blue and the white froth of the Mediterranean. A pair of light brown hawks hung on to the waves of air above and took it in turns to dive down into the tall grasses searching for their supper. I watched two butterflies play with each other and then settle, looking like exquisite petals.

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The breeze cooled the warm sun and the temperature was perfect. This place has an abundance of energy as old as the Stone Age. Despite our ‘high tech’ life, our inner needs haven’t changed much. I know that I need to re-connect with that, ‘re-silence’, which of course is not actually silent at all. It is full of sound: the wind blowing through the trees; a river rushing down to the sea; house martins, swifts and swallows twittering as they circle in groups to catch their prey. There are occasional sounds of buzzards mewing high up and the late summer remnants of frog song. Inside me, the energy from this place replenishes and fills me, building a resilience which I will take home at the end of my stay here.

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What does this for you?

Photos by Robin Laverock

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