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Who sees a counsellor and why? Do you have to be feeling suicidal, or at least a little crazy? Can counselling really make a difference to how you feel? Do men seek counselling and if so, is it a sign of weakness? Does a counsellor simply give advice? This book gives some of the answers, based on accounts of people who have been through counselling.
In The Longest Journey: finding the true self Amanda Stuart describes how clients, men and women, addressed a range of difficulties, including anxiety and depression. Invariably when clients seek counselling, it is apparent that old wounds – neglect, hurt and anger - are at the heart of the presenting problem, sometimes decades later. The author decided to write The Longest Journey to highlight the effect of old, suppressed pain.
She interviewed a number of ex-clients to understand what had changed for them as a result of seeking counselling. Many clients then chose to write their own story. Their experiences include sensitive issues such as a parent’s suicide and physical and sexual abuse, topics that are still taboo in our society.
Clients were aware of significant change – they were happier and felt more fulfilled in their lives. Relationships with partners were generally easier and more satisfying. On re-reading his story, Patrick, a man in his late thirties, said: ‘I’m blown away. Looking back on my time in counselling I can see how much I’ve changed. Others have seen it in me too.’
The Longest Journey also encourages parents to understand their child’s feelings from a young age.
Since training as a counsellor and psychotherapist, Amanda Stuart has worked with individuals, couples and families. She encourages her clients to use their creativity as a means to healing pain, whether through writing, drawing, painting or music. Exploring clients’ dreams is a significant part of her work, leading clients to a richer understanding of their emotional life.
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