Aylesbury, Counselling, Dragons, Reflective Practice, The Inner World, Ways of Being

The trouble with armour.

As all good knights, warriors, etc know, one should never enter a dragon’s den without armour. Be that the old-fashioned clunky sort that weighs a ton, slows you down and restricts your vision. Or a capacity to create magic of some kind. A spell to disappear; a spell to dazzle your opponent; a spell to send them to sleep for a time.The list is endless. Each of us has their own preferred method of defence. These are fine when facing a dragon or similar creature. In the counselling room, they are unhelpful.

I mentioned earlier that I am not in the habit of devouring my patients. Nor do I defend my gold with my fiery breath. But my patients don’t really believe this. At least not initially. So they come to me and use all their armour to protect themselves. I’ve been seduced. Charmed. Threatened. Cajoled.Coaxed. Ignored. The list is very long. The aim is to keep me at arm’s length. Because these are the armours my patients habitually wear. (I did consider putting up a notice saying “Please leave your armour at the door.” Then thought better of it!)

The armour can only come off when the person in front of me thinks they are safe. Sometimes armour comes off after two or three visits. Sometimes it stays on for the duration of our time together. There is no rule with these things. Armour of all kinds is a mixed blessing. Certainly it can protect from assaults. It can also trap the user inside. Chain mail from head to foot is excellent in armed conflict against a similarly clad opponent. It is most inconvenient in an office! Spells of enchantment. Invisibility. Flying. All have their place. But tend to make it difficult to see you. Talk with you. Build a real relationship with you- because neither of us knows what is true.

As a counsellor my task is not to strip you naked and leave you cold, afraid and exposed.My task is to point out today’s defence. Help you think about why you’ve chosen it. To ask what purpose it  might serve. To bring to your attention that you are, in fact, wearing a suit of armour which might be affecting your activities. (It’s amazingly easy for some people to forget they are wearing armour when they come to see me.)

So, next time you come to see me, consider my notice inviting you to leave your armour at the door. Then we can talk about the you that wants and needs so much protection. (And the armour will be waiting for you when you leave…_

dragon's eye 1


2 thoughts on “The trouble with armour.

  1. Tim Newell says:

    In Grendon we referred to the armour as a head. Men put on the ‘system head’ when they behaved in traditional prison mode – resistant, aggressive, defensive. When faced with the demands of group and community therapeutic experience however they were soon challenged to work within the key principle of reality confrontation – something we all find hard to do

    Good wishes, Tim Newell 07543 551006


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