At JMA Psychology Canberra, my counselling practice, we believe in "the three C's": Curiosity, Connection and Compassion. Let me explain what I mean...
Curiosity, as we mean it here, is not just idle interest, a passing whim to hear something new. It means a hunger to know, to understand with an open mind, with full acceptance. To be truly interested and willing to learn from each and every person we see, to understand their experiences, their pain, their trauma, their anxiety, their depression, their battles with addiction, their failed or failing relationships, their mistakes, their fears, their hopes, and their dreams for the future. Because it is through understanding that we set the stage for insight, change, recovery, healing, relationship repair, and hope.
Our next guiding principle is Connection. When any person seeks the advice or ‘counsel’ of another, especially when we’re talking about feelings and thoughts, it sets the stage for a very special type of relationship. A relationship based on trust in which you can feel absolutely accepted and never criticized. A relationship in which you always feel treated with kindness, understanding and emotional generosity combined with honesty and respect. But what makes such a counselling relationship extra special is that this level of connection is guaranteed, it does not rely on you proving that you ‘deserve’ such treatment. Our philosophy is that you deserve it just by coming to see us in the first place.
And so to our third commitment, Compassion. The word comes from two much older words which translate as “to suffer with”, and that is what we believe is absolutely vital to the helping professions. We all know how it feels to be treated like a diagnosis, like an object that is broken and needs fixing, or even to feel like we’ve been put in the ‘too hard’ basket and given up on. There can be no benefit from such an experience, quite the opposite. So you can be assured that you will not feel like you are dealing with an icy, detached ‘expert’ in this practice – you will meet skilled, experienced counsellors who are also warm, very human and are willing to open their hearts to you, your story and your struggles.
So if our combination of curiosity, connection and compassion sounds like something that you might find worthwhile, please explore this website and perhaps Contact us to learn more.
I had an interesting reminder today of how much our search for simple solutions to complex problems can sometimes blind us to opportunities to make a real difference in our lives.
I was reading the news online, and what caught my eye was the media coverage of a Johns Hopkins study just released which analysed a range of different investigations into the therapeutic benefits of mindfulness meditation on a range of mental health conditions. The results showed, consistent with my own experiences as well as those of a large number of my fellow mental health professionals, that just introducing mindfulness meditation into our daily routine is equally as helpful as taking prescribed medications for conditions such as anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. The trouble is, prescribed medications by themselves, are generally only responsible for about a 20% decrease in symptoms. Not a particularly impressive improvement for either medication or mindfulness meditation on the face of it, although the fact that meditation came out a good as all those pills with their frequently unpleasant side-effects, resulted in some media outlets hailing meditation as the 'new breakthrough' in mental health, whilst others focussed on that 20% statistic with comments about the "limited efficacy of meditation in mental health treatment" (I could almost hear the collective groan of my brothers and sisters in the helping professions!)
The fact is that there is no such thing as a magic bullet or a simple solution in mental health, a single thing that you can take or do that will make everything better. Our marvellous brains, minds, and nervous systems are much too complex for that. For any change in outcome to occur, we need to take an integrated and multi-axial approach - psychobabble aside, we need to work in a way that respects and honours the minds' complexity, and the increasingly recognised fact that our minds and bodies are not separate entities but an intricate and integrated whole.
At JMA Psychology Canberra, we appreciate the complexity of the mind, of relationships, and of life. We see our work with every client as an enormous privilege to understand a fellow human being as much as we can, and to put our heads together with him, her, or them, to find opportunities to release unnecessary suffering from their lives. And whilst we can't promise a "cure" (not even a guaranteed 20% decrease in pain!) we can promise an approach that focuses on you as an individual, with absolute respect for all of your vast complexity.
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