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Praise for The Inner Life of the Counselor
"Robert Wicks helps counselors to create a place of light within, as well as a nurturing spirit that sustains us in the places of darkness through which we all must pass at times. . . . He allows us to embrace and nourish our inner life so we as counselors may live both mindfully and with a greater sense of meaning . . . [and] underscores the importance of cleansing our reflections so we can avoid 'contamination' of those we care for and not lose our sense of meaning and...
Praise for The Inner Life of the Counselor
"Robert Wicks helps counselors to create a place of light within, as well as a nurturing spirit that sustains us in the places of darkness through which we all must pass at times. . . . He allows us to embrace and nourish our inner life so we as counselors may live both mindfully and with a greater sense of meaning . . . [and] underscores the importance of cleansing our reflections so we can avoid 'contamination' of those we care for and not lose our sense of meaning and mission as helpers in the process."
—Bradley T. Erford, PhD; President, American Counseling Association (2012–2013); author, Orientation to the Counseling Profession and Transforming the School Counseling Profession
"Robert Wicks has skillfully drawn out practical learning from the wisdom traditions of the world that illuminates the precious nature of this healing space."
—David Brazier, author, Zen Therapy
"Robert Wicks takes the reader on a journey exploring The Inner Life of the Counselor and the vast wealth that exists in silence. Once again, he reminds us that the strength of the counselor is in bringing equanimity and an open heart to our life and work, forged through our capacity to sit with ourselves in meditation."
—Cheryl A. Giles, PsyD, Francis Greenwood Peabody Professor of the Practice in Pastoral Care and Counseling, Harvard Divinity School
"In The Inner Life of the Counselor, Wicks challenges each of us as counselors, in his straightforward yet profound way, to revisit the landscape of the inner horizon to access not only our knowledge, but also our innate wisdom as healers."
—Craig S. Cashwell, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, CSAT, Professor of Counseling and Educational Development, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; coeditor, Integrating Spirituality and Religion into Counseling, Second Edition
Chapter 2 Valuing and Accessing Alonetime
Chapter 3 Recognizing The Cues Of Subtle “Mindlessness”
Chapter 4 Learning The Art Of Leaning Back
Chapter 5 Experiencing A New Type Of Counselor Self-Nurturance
Chapter 6 Alonetime As A University: Honoring The Wisdom Of Mentors Of Mindfulness
Appendix I: Retreat And Reflect: Enjoying A Fresh Experience Of Your Own Inner Life
A Brief Final Comment On A Counselor's Inner Renewal In Alonetime
Posted October 21, 2013
When I began doing therapy, the concept of the therapist being a “blank slate, upon which the client projects” was firmly engrained. For the clinician to express a personal opinion, reflect a “value” or otherwise be more than a highly trained (read “deeply indoctrinated”) echo chamber of the clients’ identity was verboten. It was frustrating to be repeatedly told to “be warm and inviting” while “not intruding” in the client’s world. Fortunately, the profession has progressed to understanding the value of the clinician’s Self in the treatment event, that to Be with a hurting person/couple/family is, possibly, the single most effective practice in the helping moment. That “Being” is a demanding task when the helping professional is: assessing, listening, responding, attending and directing the client. This book offers a strategy for strengthening, developing and protecting the core Being of the clinician.
Dr. Wicks, a master therapist, offers practical, broadly read, quickly integrated information of how the interior life of the helping professional can be maintained in a healthy state, therefore allowing the professional to “be more present” in the clinical hour. Using the writings of Contemplatives ranging from 3rd Century BC Buddhist monks, 3rd and 4th Century Christian Desert Fathers (and Mothers) to contemporary mystics, he reveals the benefits of developing and strengthening the inner life of the counselor.
There is much discussion of “Mindfulness” (the discipline of being “(more fully) aware” of one’s life and living) in the considerations framed in this work. Dr. Wicks recommends frequent meditation and mindfulness practices in accomplishing this goal. His argument is, in part, that those who sit with the pain of others MUST attend to the pain found in the vicarious trauma experienced in doing treatment or they will find their effectiveness being greatly compromised. His arguments are well documented and speak from a perspective of long experience. A 50+ page appendix contains scenarios and questions to help the reader address some of the issues of disquiet and “mindlessness” within themselves that could be interfering with living life with more fullness.
Though this book was written with mental health clinicians in mind, its usefulness is not limited to that demographic. Anyone who experiences the prolonged exposure to others pain, fears or suffering could benefit from the information and exercises found in this book. It is not a large book but one that the reader will want to read carefully and refer back to it often to be reminded of the potent “moments of quiet” available to everyone in the most unusual places and times, it only takes a desire to find them.