What I Learned at the Lagos Workshop

I travelled from Awka, Anambra State (Nigeria), driving seven hours, to attend the workshop in Lagos State (Nigeria). It was my first national RC workshop.

As we introduced ourselves during the welcome session, I was struck by the enthusiasm in the room. There was a pretty1 even split between males and females—another pleasant surprise, since in my experience it’s usually women who embrace counselling as a means of self-improvement.

The next morning, Diane Shisk talked about the rudiments of the Co-Counselling session—basically the art of listening. It continues to amaze me how much of our disconnection is directly related to an inability or lack of opportunity to discharge after a traumatic experience. She validated clients’ emotions, freeing the clients to discharge them without shame or embarrassment. As we learnt from Tim that evening, telling elaborate stories to explain or justify our distress is nearly irrelevant. As clients, we need to approach the Co-Counselling session with our minds made up2 to discharge the emotions as quickly as possible. As counsellors, we need to help our clients do just that.

The biggest lesson I learnt was about doing regular Co-Counselling sessions, so that our cognitive arteries remain free from emotional clots. Emotional discharge makes us feel good, but that is not the goal of RC. The goal is to use discharge to make rational decisions—decisions unimpeded by emotion—and thereby become better people, for ourselves and for others.

Chineze Obi-Okoye
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

1 “Pretty” means quite.
2 “Minds made up” means a decision already made.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00