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  • Writer's pictureEmma Coyle

A Mother's Love

With yesterday being my Mum’s Birthday, I have been thinking a lot about my Mum and how lucky I am to have her in my life.

Of course this is a sentiment that many of us feel about our Mums, whether still with us or sadly passed away. However, what I have really been thinking about is how my Mum instinctively always knows how best to comfort me. Even as a young baby, when I was feeling distressed or anxious, she would be able to take my feelings on board, sort them out and then transform them into something that would ease my pain or discomfort.

This is also arguably, the first, and most important role of a psychodynamic counsellor. We have to keep thinking about and understanding what’s going on with a client, even when the feelings in the room are difficult. We have to understand what our client is trying to convey to us, whether in what they say, how they act, how they are with us or simply in how they make us feel. All these give vital clues as to the state of our clients ‘inner world’ and we have to take them into account, in order that we might adequately ‘contain’ and hold our client in the way they most need.

By truly experiencing how our client is feeling, we can properly understand what is going on for them in their world and in their relationships with others. We can show them that just like the ‘good Mother,’ we can bear the difficult feelings, making them a little more ‘digestible’ so that thinking can become possible. We can then work with our client to think about their experiences in a different light. The hope being that they will no longer just fall into unconsciously repeating patterns of behaviour but rather will be able to better deal with their problems going forward as a result of their new understanding.

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