Reply To: Homework Week 2 (Wellness and Recovery Promotion)

Diana James

My general reaction to most of the questions asked in each domain, reflects my own style in counseling. I was very privileged in the long internship I received, with 2 mentors/ supervisors. One was a Bowen systems/ Narrative minister/ counselor, and the other was a Jungian Psychiatrist. I had been trained/ educated to think that my own journey, reflections, individuation, and mature growth was the grounding from which I could best help my clients in their journey to wellness; to discover their own strengths and purpose in life, as they moved closer to their own well being and recovery.
My journey helped me understand that my strengths were shaped by my life experiences, and the understanding of those experiences within the context of my family, culture and choices I made. I learned to listen differently, and ask different questions. I became a philosopher and curious about my clients and who they were-what shaped them, asking about the stories of their lives-what moved them, what gave them purpose, and how they expressed their pain and joy.

Helping clients identify their strengths often takes time. One has to build the therapeutic relationship, to build trust and respect. Sometimes, if a client is not able to articulate or acknowledge that this or that is a strength, I will ask “what would your best friend, partner, parent (whoever is appropriate) say about you-what do you think he or she would say they value in you?