Tag Archives: Questions

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And what was that like for you?

Some years ago while working as a mental health nurse I had a client who had been hearing voices (mostly benign) since quite an early age. Mostly she would converse with them, silently, having learned quickly that taking about them would make people regard her with suspicion at best and at worst it would often lead to bullying.

This was in an adolescent in-patient unit and she had been seen in the community for a couple of years prior to being referred to us. One day, I asked her, “What was that like being different and not being able to talk about it?” The question led to tears but also a great sense of relief. She told me that she was not a naturally secretive person but that her experiences had made her very wary of who she would talk to about her experiences, not just of hearing voices but generally. This made me wonder among other things, “How often is paranoia among schizophrenics a learned thing and a means of protecting themselves?”

I was horrified that it had taken this long into her care before that question had been asked. (She told me that no one had ever asked that before.)

As an aromatherapist and massage practitioner, I often find myself being the first person who has asked that question or one very similar to it. I know that a number of my clients who come primarily because of mental health issues rather than physical things find that it is really important that they can share their experience. This also helps me in understanding them and choosing essential oils appropriately. This is not to say that I don’t sometimes say the wrong thing despite my therapy and counselling training. I do though often even mistakes can lead  to breakthroughs in therapy. What it does mean is that I am prepared to take the risk of asking the unasked question every so often.

If you are looking for a massage/aromatherapy session where perhaps what you really need is for someone to ask that question that allows you to say what is really going on give me a call on 07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com

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No one ever asked that before!

“No one ever asked that before!”

These words were said in surprise by a client the other week. The particular question isn’t important but the answer helped me to understand a bit more about where she was coming from and what I could best do to help her.

I was reminded of someone I worked with as a mental health nurse a few years ago. A young adult who had heard voices most of her life. Not voices that were derogatory or threatening all the time like some others I have worked with experienced in fact nearly all the time they were pleasant, causing problems by their content only occasionally.

She learned at an early age to keep quiet about her voices so people wouldn’t label her as, “mad.” I asked her what it was like, growing up, having to pretend these voices didn’t exist, trying not to be distracted by them during conversations or school work?

Her surprise at being asked the question was mirrored by my own that no one else had ever asked it to try and understand her better.

In my Cambridge aromatherapy practice, I often ask questions that clients are surprised by, yet to me they are nearly always very obvious questions. Some are about obvious things like allergies to essential oils, physical and psychological things that affect the choice of essential oils ETC.

Being of a somewhat quirky nature, just occasionally I will ask a question that even I think is unusual though there will be a reason behind it. It is important for me not to assume that the obvious questions have already been asked and are not relevant, just as it is to be open to the new learning that might come from a question that is far from obvious.