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Any trained counsellors out there- or anyone had counselling via Relate?

(6 Posts)
counsellingtricks Sat 13-Aug-11 15:00:47

I am having counselling with a Relate trained counsellor. I will ask her why we did this exercise, but wondered if anyone could shed any light meanwhile.

Last session, she mapped my family tree on a chart, with ages of everyone on both my side and DHs. This included parents. grnadparents, siblings etc etc , their ages and how long married etc etc.

She then asked me where the strong relationships existed.

I am wondering why and where this is going.............

SaffronCake Sat 13-Aug-11 15:10:30

She wants to see not who you say but what you say, something you might disregard and never give any more thought to like "I never really got on with my Granny" can lead through into conversations about why, how it made you feel, what you think of yourself and how you feel about your place in the family. That can be profound stuff, people make real discoveries about themselves in counselling through seemingly irrelvant things like that. Another good use for it is when self esteem is low or people feel they don't know how to live without dependancy on a partner or they think little of themself. You can then start looking at the proof that they do infact function in a wide range of relationships and are much more of a whole person than they think. And then of course it's good for just getting to know you, she's not going to be able to be a lot of help if you remain a near total stranger to her, we can all give off the cuff answers, her job is to ask deep and thought provoking questions- that's much more involved.

Wisedupwoman Sat 13-Aug-11 16:15:33

I do this alot in my work as a systemic psychotherapist OP. We call it a genogram.

We use it for all sorts of purposes usually quite early on in therapy. It can be thought of as a 'map' of the family relationships and can illuminate patterns of intergenerational boundaries, closeness, distance, divorce, illness, education, all sorts of things. It can also expose patterns of beliefs which often run in families and can show what happens when something does something which runs counter to family culture, and often gives rise to problems in relationships. We also think about family structure and hierarchies, such as whether two parents are functioning as the executive pair in decision making, or whether other relationships are undermining that function say for example if a DW can't get her DH to make a decision without consulting his DM, then we might hypothesize that actually the executive functions are actually being carried out not by the marital couple but by the DH and his mother, thereby distancing the DW from her 'proper' role.

Hope that makes sense. This exercise is often a very powerful and compelling one, people usually discover things they hadn't known or had known but they were stories which families don't talk about for many reasons.

Your therapist sounds like she works like that, and since I'm naturally biased, I'd say you've got yourself a really sound therapist there!!

Wisedupwoman Sat 13-Aug-11 16:16:27

oops not when something does something but when someone does something - sorry!

Coca Sat 13-Aug-11 16:19:44

Our relate woman suggested doing that when I made some catty comments about DH's family. Dh didn't want to so we just talked about it instead as it was fairly obvious I had stuff to get off my chest! I think it would be a useful exercise though.

counsellingtricks Sat 13-Aug-11 17:26:58

Thanks all and wisedup.

I have to say this was in session 3. I guess, without being big headed, she got more from it than me, as I have analysed the relationships and all the intergenerational things you mention in my head for years.

If nothing else, it will help her see that I am reasonably switched on to how my background and DHs makes us who we are today.

It seems quite a long way removed from the actual issue I am talking to her about, at the moment, but I think she is looking for patterns; does my parent's marriage mirrror mine, how does the birth order in the family affect my behaviour now.

I'm a pretty analytical person and have drawn my own conclusions from all of this over the years- so, not being dismissive of t yet at all, but doubt if I will have a eureka moment from it. But , we shall see.

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