REFLEXOLOGY - AN ALTERNATIVE TO COUNSELLING?
As a qualified counsellor I suppose that I should feel indignant about some research results I noted recently suggesting that in 75% of cases, counselling was ineffective. However, that merely backs up my own beliefs and makes it difficult if not impossible to promote that branch of my work as a complementary therapist with any great enthusiasm or integrity.
I have pondered long and hard about the reasons for the overall disappointing results of counselling therapy and have reached some conclusions or perhaps I should say, some opinions on the matter.
Firstly, one has to look at the quality and attitudes of the counsellors themselves. Whilst there are many excellent professionals in the field, there are many who are in my humble opinion, totally inept. No matter what theory based qualifications you possess, it does not always translate into practical skill and this is no different in other professions or trades. Moving on from that, the work load of many counsellors can be mentally and emotionally draining to the point where they tend to switch off. I remember speaking to someone in the United States who had retired as a Hospital Administrator but was persuaded to return to work part time as a Counsellor which was part of his original skill set. A few months later I asked him how it was going and discovered that he had given up the role saying, “I just got tired of listening to all that shit”. Totally understandable but not a prelude to successful therapy.
Before being in danger of ruffling any feathers, let me move on to the patients/clients themselves who I think are the main reason for the high failure rate. Many are pushed into counselling without wanting to or feeling the need to be there. If you don’t go with an open mind, life is difficult for the counsellor and if you go with a totally negative attitude it is virtually impossible.
However, I think that the major reason for failure is that often clients do not understand the nature of the service on offer. People tend to consult counsellors looking for advice and to give advice is not the function of counselling. Its function is to help the client move forward, to resolve their own issues and to reach their own conclusions. The counsellor is a facilitator of change and not the font of all wisdom.
So, I hear you asking, “what has that all to do with reflexology?” Well a few years ago a client recommended a friend who was keen to try a reflexology treatment. After the treatment, she reported to her friend that she had told me things that she had never mentioned to anybody else and was a little stunned that she had not only divulged such hidden feelings but had done so on her first meeting. “There” said my client, “you not only had reflexology but a free counselling session”.
This remark was thought provoking and made me realise that many of my clients used reflexology partly as a counselling session without realising it. Whilst half of my clients will close their eyes and relax, many will want to talk and this is usually about things on their mind, often everyday worries and concerns. However, deeper feelings can surface and be released. I have found reflexology can help release deep seated feelings of grief, guilt and low esteem along with numerous other incidents from the past including in a couple of instances abuse suffered as a child. In one case, a client seemed to be releasing problems from a past life but that is merely an observation made without wishing to enter into a reincarnation debate within this blog.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that I have found reflexology to be an interesting and useful alternative to counselling even though people do not come to me with that in mind, it just happens to be a ‘spin off’ benefit of regular sessions.
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