33. Face to Face

The Counselling and Therapy profession is focused on the returning to face to face work. I look forward to a time in our profession. When phone, zoom, and face to face are equally valued for their own pros and cons. Rather than anything that is not face to face being less than. I don’t think lockdown is going to succeed in this. Such is the profession’s attachment to face to face work.

Whatever your view on Freud he had something with the patient lying down out of the gaze of the analyst. I appreciate the profession has moved on to a more consumer, customer led approach. But my own experience is that the online therapeutic work has changed little. Allowing the shallows and depths as before. But what most clients seem to miss is not the quality of the interaction. But less home privacy, and much more the preparing and digesting in the journey either side of the session. A commute, walk, cycle ride etc to the session location. 

I hear my colleagues’ arguments justifying their return to face to face work. A big room, good ventilation. Or unhappy clients who are demanding a face to face return. Like politicians – open up or shut down the economy. My colleagues range from business like to plain missing the interaction. This would merit some serious philosophical skepticism and self reflection. The decision is deeply personal, moral and political. 

And ego? A profession under duress can afford an over inflated sense of self importance with the service they provide. The special face to face relationship. But for me the therapist is less important than we would like to believe. I am always told of the special relationship. Yet humans have the capacity for many special relationships in a lifetime: lovers, family, friends and other therapists. My work is more predicated on the openess, courage and curiousity of the client. Rather than anything hugely significantly special I might provide. 

This would merit some research and writing. I shall leave it to others trying to gain a foothold up the cold windy mountainside that is the ladder of our profession. Just like other professions. Competitive, egotistical – human. 

Copyright Adrian Scott
North London Counsellor Blog 2020
All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argment and critique 

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