As you probably know, I work as a counsellor in a part-time capacity. One of the requirements for counsellors is that they must have a monthly meeting with a supervisor. This is someone with special training and a lot of counselling experience. These meetings are designed to make sure the counsellor is working safely in the best interests of clients and also to provide somewhere to seek advice or insight.
The supervisor I had until recently was very fond of using one particular way to make me think about my clients. Once I had shared something of their situation or the point at which counselling had arrived, she often asked me to think what animal that client was like. It can be a really difficult question to answer. There are obviously many different animals to choose from. Some aspects of an animal may seem right in relation to a client and some may not. Usually, when I had done my best to choose and had explained which aspect was relevant and which seemed not to be, I found that I had arrived at a better understanding of the client in question. Although the question was tricky to answer, in finding an answer I regularly gained insight also. Continue reading