What is in this silence? What else is there?
Lockdowns, social isolation, difficult choices…spring is proving somewhat challenging. However, it also allows a lot of space to think.
Time to think is a luxury, of course, so I am using every opportunity I get to slow down, jot down my thoughts and explore silence. Why silence? Well, because it is relevant to all my services. It is pertinent to our current collective experience. With social isolation comes a lack of validation and a lot of silence filled with loss, unanswered questions, unspoken and unmet needs and possibly, for some of us, also unaddressed abuse.
However, even if asking for help is hard, there is hope and support out there. So how can we listen to our silence, reach out and also lean in and support others through it too? These are the questions I am thinking about these days.
Last week, I was training with Mick Cooper and John Norcross on personalising psychotherapy. Listening to those fantastic practitioners and researchers was indeed enlightening. Still, I benefited the most from their answer to my question: what do we do if the client was never ever asked for preferences and our privilege evokes their silence? It turns out that devoting more time and space to open, congruent conversations about the client’s experience of choice and of our privilege in the room is the safest, most effective way forward. This might mean additional few therapy hours, but we have to (as John so nicely put it) “privilege the client over our therapist’s ego”.
So as we enter the transition periods from lockdown to other ways of being, please remember to check in with yourself and others: how is this silence for you? What is in this silence? And what else is there?
In the meantime, here, at Voxel Hub, I am finishing my work towards the global EMMC coaching accreditation, starting my OTR Bristol therapy placement and today talking at an online event at UWE Bristol about news and information overload. I have more exciting news coming up this spring and summer, so stay tuned.
I wish you a safe, calm and soft March. Be safe and be kind to yourself.
My favourite topic this month
When working with silence, it might be worth reaching out for inspiration within, as well as outside of our industries, so here are my personal favourites:
- “Time to Think” – Thinking Environment is a fantastic coaching methodology working with silences and core assumptions – specific, well documented and incredibly effective
- “How to Listen: Tools for opening up conversations when it matters most” – new, very easy to use but also rich even for mental health professionals, a new book by Samaritans UK.
- “Silence: In the Age of Noise” – a small pocketbook by the explorer Erling Kagge, who has spent weeks on his own in vast open spaces.
- “Unspeakable: The Things We Cannot Say” – trauma, racism, bullying – a teen Harriet Shawcross stopped speaking for a year and now is exploring the spaces where silence is the only way forward for the disempowered
- “The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves.” – Stephen Grosz describing his client who comes to therapy to sit in a healing silence.
- Goodreads quotes on silence – plenty of inspiration from great minds
I hope you will find those sources useful. If you have a recommendation on this topic, please do let me know!
Using the silence to learn more
This month I would like to share my favourite online courses for further development. If we do have all this space to fill out, why not learn a new skill or expand our toolkit with new interventions?
- “How to do counselling online: a coronavirus primer” – BACP and Open University teaming up to provide free training on online counselling
- “Nature Connectedness” – University of Derby providing a free online course on ecotherapy
- HowToAcademy – fantastic subscription to broaden our horizons with talks from very relevant speakers
- OnlineEvents – unassuming at first, a fantastic group of counselling professionals with affordable online CPD courses in all areas of counselling and supervision
- MasterClass – beautifully filmed, wonderful learning experience from masters of their craft, indeed.
- ILM Dimensions of Leadership – a fantastic follow up filler for executive coaches supporting CEO’s and other senior leaders, a good interaction to all core aspects of leadership with a focus on soft leadership and empathy too.
I hope the above links are useful, but please let me know your favourites too!
Featured blog post
“Way back in July, I blogged about the different platforms enabling performers to carry on entertaining audiences remotely throughout the pandemic, using technology at a time where venues across the world sadly shut their doors.
Since then, I have, albeit almost accidentally, immersed myself in the world of online gigs, hosting and supporting a series of music and comedy events on Zoom. I’ve been involved in over 60 shows, each of which have had special, memorable moments for the act and audience alike.
Here are some key insights I have learned in this space of time, which is now (amazingly) verging on a year. Rather than providing a walk-through of the technical features or platform nuances employed for these online events, most of which are by now well-documented, I will focus on the impact I’ve noticed on people– the online concert experiences and how communities have been shaped and wellbeing improved by these virtual events.”