063 – Patterns of Relating – Cyber Trauma – When Your Moral Compass Shifts

063 – Patterns of Relating – Cyber Trauma – When Your Moral Compass Shifts

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In episode 63 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes offer guidance on the meaning of the term ‘patterns of relating’. ‘Theory with Rory’ looks at the new area of cyber trauma. Finally, the presenters discuss the life-changing nature of counselling training, which often brings about large shifts in students’ moral compasses.

Patterns of Relating (starts at 4.15 mins)

What does the term ‘patterns of relating’ mean? It refers to how historically clients relate to themselves and others.

Encompassing ideas such as transference and countertransference (originally from psychoanalysis), and conditions of worth and introjected values (from the person-centred approach), patterns of relating link strongly to attachment theory, as originally developed by John Bowlby. Children’s early caregivers have a major impact on how they relate to other people in adulthood.

Ken and Rory advise not to underestimate the impact of our own attachment style in the counselling room. It is important too to remember that we filter everything we experience through our own self-concept, leading to possible misconceptions and miscommunication. It is vital always to check back our understanding of what clients have said with them – for example, through paraphrasing or summarising.



Cyber Trauma (starts at 11.50 mins)

The term ‘cyber trauma’ was originally coined by psychotherapist Catherine Knibbs. Cyber trauma is a theoretical framework that covers trauma that occurs through, with or from the medium of the online world. It can be immediate, delayed or retrospective – and it is both an event and a process.

The advent of the digital world means that information spreads very fast. For example, it is very easy to lose ownership of your own material. Not knowing who ‘stole’ your information, and the lack of control over it, makes cyber trauma particularly distressing.


When Your Moral Compass Shifts (starts at 19.45 mins)

Counselling training really can be – and often is – life-changing, as the personal development that forms such an important part of it makes us re-assess our moral compass. It can become difficult to accept family and friends as we did before. You may find that other people whose company you previously enjoyed now seem unacceptably judgemental.

Ken and Rory offer the following tips:

  • Ask yourself: am I being judgemental too? Sometimes, this is a natural stage in counselling training, which may settle as you gain more experience.
  • It is natural though to make changes during and after counselling training, with many students choosing to spend their time and energy differently from before.
  • If you are struggling to accept friends and relatives who are speaking judgementally, ask yourself: ‘Where is their fear?’ Often, prejudices are based on fear, insecurity, and a lack of knowledge.
  • Remember that the feelings you are having are evidence of your personal development, which is a wonderful thing, but can also be disconcerting and even painful.
  • Speaking up against judgments – and becoming and working as a counsellor – take courage.

To conclude, Rory quotes Maya Angelou: ‘Without courage, we cannot practise any other virtue with consistency.’ And Rory adds the words of Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’