Counselling and
stress management
in Southampton

Five Elements and Awareness Play

Making the invisible visible

'What's involved?'
If we work together, after we've made some progress with understanding what's going on in your life, I'll probably invite you to represent this using pompoms as metaphors for the elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and other physical objects to represent other therapeutic factors. You'll be given a list of feelings, needs and strengths linked to each element and shown a structured way to organise the pompoms and other metaphors. We'd then discuss and explore this as part of therapy.

'Are you saying creative methods are better than talking things through?'
I don't think they're better, they're just another way to communicate we can add to the mix. Talking is vital but words can sometimes be a bit difficult to get hold of. We say what's going on then we move onto the next thing. And the next, and the next... Creative play can help us slow down our often fast-moving stream of feeling-infused words. If you get caught in this (bubbling stream turns into powerful river?) creative methods could help you get more distance from your stories. This more spacious and slower sense of perspective could be super helpful.

'Where did all this come from?'
I trained in a complementary therapy called Touch for Health during the 1990s. While I don't offer this form of support now, after completing my counselling training in 2011, I realised there were profound similarities between the ancient Taoist / Traditional Chinese Medicine five element theory (a key part of Touch for Health) and a core model that guides my Gestalt approach to counselling. This led to many years exploring different ways to apply the Five Elements during therapy. Eventually I developed a practical way to do this.

'So, is this a unique selling point of yours?'
I suppose it is. The Five Elements model belongs to all of us. I've valued working with it for over thirty years and it seems right to pass on this ancient legacy in a modern and creative way to my clients. I'm also pleased to offer workshops for other therapists who want to learn more.

'Would I have to do the Five Elements thing if we met?
Not at all. Creative methods are just one, optional part of therapy. If you feel you 'have to' do anything in therapy, that's something I'd want to explore with you as counselling embraces freedom to choose rather than a sense of obligation. This method has helped many different people over the years, from executives on six figures to brassic students and everyone in between. If the idea of creative approaches switches you off, this might be a sign I'm not the best therapist for you to work with. On the other hand, if you're interested by this conversation, it could be a sign that exploring the Five Elements and/or using creative methods as part of counselling or holistic coaching could help you.

'Thanks for that. Could you say more about what each element means?'
I'd provide full details when the time is right but here's a brief intro to start things off.