Menú Cerrar

Categoría: Blog (página 1 de 15)

Discapacidad y Terapia de Creación Literaria/Disability and Therapeutic Writing

¿Qué es la discapacidad?
Mi definición de discapacidad es la siguiente:
La discapacidad es la no-habilidad para usar el potencial y las capacidades que se poseen y que pueden ayudar a resolver determinados problemas y funcionar bien en el entorno socio-cultural en el que se mueve el individuo.

What is disability?
My definition of disability is:
Disability is the non-ability to use one ́s personal physical and physiological capacities and potentials to solve certain problems and to function well in his/her cultural environment.

The breadth of my experience has led me to believe that all of us have weaknesses and strengths, abilities and disabilities. I personally believe that anyone who does not have intellectual disabilities in reading or writing can discover their abilities/strengths and disabilities/weaknesses through creative writing. This can then lead to action being taken to address and develop them for an improved quality of life.

Mi experiencia me dice que todos tenemos debilidades y fortalezas, capacidades y discapacidades. Personalmente creo que cualquiera que no tenga discapacidades intelectuales para leer o escribir (discapacidades lingüísticas), puede descubrir sus capacidades/fortalezas y sus discapacidades/debilidades a través de la escritura creativa. Esto puede llevar al individuo a tomar acción, gestionándolas y desarrollándolas con el fin de mejorar su calidad de vida.

Therapeutic Writing
Escritura Terapéutica


Mis libros / My books

Songs (Still!) Waiting for a Rock Band – OUT NOW

Tenerife… It was at that time that I had the urge to communicate what music meant to me. And there I was, buying records… and then a mixer, and I tried my hand at being a DJ, and I worked on the radio… And I wanted to have a rock band to melt my feelings with music and others. But that remained a fantasy, a dream. And so I started writing poems, lyrics, songs inspired by other songs and by that time I was living.

Tenerife… Fue en aquel tiempo que sentí la urgencia de comunicar lo que la 
música significaba para mí. Y compraba discos… y una mesa de mezclas y 
jugué a ser DJ y trabajé en la radio… Y quería tener una banda de rock y fundir 
mi emoción con la música y con los demás.
Pero esto quedo en un quería, en un quise, en un sueño. Y así es que empecé a escribir letras, poesías, canciones inspiradas unas por el momento y otras por las de otros.

– Manu Rodriguez, Edinburgh December 2015

¨Poignant and personal, introspective yet outgoing. Young and carefree,
yet heavy with the weight of age and responsibility. These pieces of
poetic lyrical prose are like photographs, well thumbed and cherished.
Each is a vignette, a window, through which we only see what the
writer chooses to reveal. In a real, immediate sense, these might be
songs – rock songs, even.  I have even been putting some of them to
music, with Manu’s blessing. Even so, these elusive lyrical fragments
are, in their own haunting way, still, waiting for a rock band.¨

– Calum Carlyle, musician, Edinburgh April 2016


‘Doce historias y un secreto’ YA A LA VENTA

Doce historias y un secretoDoce historias y un secreto es la obra narrativa de ficción, en forma de colección de relatos, más ambiciosa hasta el momento de Manu Rodríguez.

Ilustrada por el dibujante maño Josema Carrasco, contiene doce relatos, y no uno sino muchos secretos.

Si bien algunas de sus páginas se gestaron por aquellos años de Leyendas adolescentes (Primeros cuentos de finales de siglo), sus historias están pasadas por el tamiz de la experiencia.

En ellas, el lector quedará envuelto en mundos íntimos, llenos de Sueño, Ilusión, Magia…

Buy Now online!

Crying Words – OUT NOW

Writing just for the sake of writing is worthless.

You have to write when you are driven to bleed into the paper.

¿Cry? Yes, I would like to. But I don’t know how.

I only know how to cry writing. Crying words in silence.


Crying Words is an introspective monologue, a narrative that has something to say to everyone, and yet is intensely personal. A journey, an awakening, it is Manu Rodriguez’ most intimate work to date.
Each of us feels alienated at some point in our lives, and everyone knows what it is to cry, but if we were able to turn those tears into words, crying with ink onto the page, would our words find a kinship with the words, and tears, of another? A way to connect emotionally, through words?
Deep down what are we really searching for? Wisdom? Money? Sex? Love? Inner peace? Perhaps these crying words will wash away the confusion of yesterday and carry us, sailing, into the future.
Crying Words by Manu Rodriguez may answer some or all of these questions, it is certainly a frank and open account, an inner memoir, a journey, a journey which each of us must ultimately take, in some way, at some time…

This book was published for the first time in Spain in 2005 and was translated into an English version by the author. Also included are four drawings by Chencho Aguilera, an artist from Ayamonte, Andalucia.

Barnes and Noble BUY on Barnes and Noble

‘Multiple abilities. A Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes approach’ -talk given for the Lapidus weekend, on 5-6th October 2013, Bristol (UK)-

Manu Rodríguez
October 2013

‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.’
Stephen Hawking

I was born in Sevilla in 1967, in a modest and traditional family. My mum was a primary school teacher and my dad a policeman. I was the first of four brothers and a sister. This might sound like a regular story but the peculiarity is that my father´s father, and my mother´s father, were brothers. According to my grandma (my maternal grandmother, who is still alive) they didn’t see anything wrong at all with the relationship or the later marriage of her daughter and the son of her brother in law. Then, my mum and dad got married very young and I was born about nine months later. Probably their first love… first son.
When I was two years old I got really sick. The doctors said I was not going to last very long. I’m forty six and I guess those doctors are probably dead by now. Sometimes fate plays such unpredictable games…
In spite of my sickness, and with the encouragement of my parents, I finished my High School days and went to University, I worked in broadcasting, I became a writer…
I’ve had to learn how to live and accept my life with health problems, physical limitations and a word society has labelled for people like me: ‘disabled’. I can’t say it’s easy because I’ve got used to it. In fact, some moments in late childhood and adolescence were the most difficult times regarding my relationship with this word, other people and the world that surrounded me. But looking back over the years I also can say that I’ve lived my life like a ‘non-disabled’ person, learning how to deal with others and myself, regulating my feelings and emotions, tolerating many sorts of frustrations and, maybe more importantly, accepting myself with my disabilities and abilities, weaknesses and strengths.
And so, some years ago, observing what apparently society considered as ‘non-disabled people’ (who appeared to me, paradoxically, to have more disempowering emotional and behavioural problems than many so called disabled people, causing them not to have a satisfactory life), I started asking myself: ‘What is disability? Who is disabled and who is non-disabled? Who is more disabled, someone who is unable to function properly in life, in his job, with his family and/or friends, or someone who, for example, is deaf or blind? Are people like David Blunkett or Stephen Hawking disabled? In which way are they?

Now I’d like you to take a minute and think about these five questions:
– Am I disabled? And if so, what are my disabilities (weakness/es)?
– Am I able? And if so, what are my abilities (strength/s)?
– How can I address my disabilities?
– How can I enhance my abilities?
– How can I work on and make the best use of my abilities?
Society seems to assume that these questions are good and beneficial for so called ‘disabled people’ to answer. Nevertheless, these questions are relevant not just for these so called ‘disabled people’. It can be said that everyone has a particular disability, call it weakness, dis-faculty, dis-capacity, inability or whatever, that sometimes impedes us from solving certain problems or regulating emotions to function optimally in our environment. On the other hand, it can be said that everyone has an ability or abilities, call it strength, faculty, skill or capacity,
Having said that, there are two main questions to follow:
– How could Therapeutic Writing be applied so that people can recognise their abilities and disabilities, work on them and address them in a positive and healthy way?
– Which activities and writing exercises could be used to assist them in this process?
The main aim of my work as a researcher and practitioner is to demonstrate that within a CWTP (Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes) approach, that so called ‘disabled people’ may accept and address their disabilities, realise their potentials and abilities, and discover how to develop them. We could say that a potential ability is not a strength until it is discovered, and the so called ‘non-disabled people’ could use a CWTP approach to recognise and accept their weaknesses, and to address them. This approach will also give them the opportunity to discover how well they are using their abilities and potentials for a better and more productive life.
I think I should briefly introduce you now what the concepts of ‘ability’ and ‘disability’ would mean to my life and to my actual research. To me, disability would be the non-ability to use one´s personal physical and physiological capacities to solve problems and to properly function in his/her cultural environment. For instance, and regarding Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory, which you may probably have heard about, this would be the lack of a certain type of intelligence in an individual.
Therefore, ‘ability’ would be the capacity for using certain type of intelligence to solve certain kind of problems.
I’m proposing then to link the concepts of ability and intelligence, to bare in mind how the concept of intelligence has evolved since Aristotle’s time to date. And to think about how creativity and problem solving theories may be applied to Therapeutic Writing so that clients can recognise their physical and psychological abilities and disabilities for a better understanding of themselves, ultimately resulting in a better personal wellbeing and a greater ability and confidence to function productively in society.
I believe that if, through creative writing, an individual is able to understand her/himself, knowing her/his strengths and weaknesses and, by doing so, is able to look for a productive place, and is able to meet her/his needs in the society where s/he lives, then s/he may empower him/herself, having a more satisfying life.
In my opinion, self-knowledge (knowing yourself, your needs and your environment; your thoughts, feelings, emotions and the way it affects your behaviour) is the most powerful way of being in control of your own life. Certainly, ‘things don’t happen to you, you make things happen’, we could say.
I think Therapeutic Writing practitioners should train their clients to strengthen their creativity and solving problem abilities. This is:
– To develop a personal vision of the problem. This means understanding it and situating it within their own unique experience, within their environmental, cultural and personal circumstances.
– To originate their own personal (and perhaps original) solution/s for the problem, as well as looking always for self-motivation and self-determination.
I will also like to briefly tell you about the concept of what I call ‘PRPCW’, ‘Positive-Reflective Post-Cathartic Writing’.
This is the idea that focusing on negative thoughts, with the use of negative words and expressions, is the result of distress and other emotional and behavioural disorders that may affect physical health. Awareness of the construction of disempowering patterns of thinking and knowing how to change them positively are the keys to empowering individuals to have a better intrapersonal and interpersonal life.
I think that we all have ‘superpowers’ and ‘superdisempowers’. We do have a hero that lives within us, that can help us for a better living. We just need to discover which kind of powers and disempowers this hero have. And then, use them, learn how to use his/her abilities and address his/her disabilities in the society/culture/environment he/she is.

My hero in an endless journey of self discovery

Taking the idea from ‘The writer’s journey’ by Christopher Vogler, I suppose that if I consider the act of writing as a journey I could say that to me writing seems like an endless journey of self discovery.

Every time I put pen to a blank page of paper, or fingers over the computer keys, I start travelling. I travel through myself, travel through my understanding of that part of me that I want to explore, to discover and to release. It is my only and lonely travel: a personal and private journey to that precise world of things that preoccupies me, to that precise part of me that I just want to uncover and that is influenced by my cultural environment and by others. Whether writing poetry or prose, what I then basically do is put thoughts, feelings and emotions in order; organizing what concerns me, tracing maps to find my own path, my own answers to the reality that is calling to me (sometimes even shouting), affecting me. It is like I had heard the CALL OF WRITING’S ADVENTURE. Sometimes I have the urge to write and I jump onto the paper. Sometimes I take my time, I take some notes on my notebook and I’m a bit RELUCTANT to take that writing journey. I think about whether I’m ready for it, if what I have is a good or bad idea… So I just keep it in mind for some time (incubate it). But then, something happens that makes me decide it’s time to go for it: something, someone, or even just myself, will push me as though by a MENTOR. And then, I decide to take the journey and cross that FIRST THRESHOLD into that special private world of my writing. On my way through, I could find TESTS (difficulty to confront feelings and emotions, not knowing how exactly to express myself…), ALLIES (coherency, honesty, positive thinking…) and ENEMIES (fear, apathy, uncertainty, incoherency…), but I know I have to carry on: I’m already committed to that writing journey. I then approach THE IN(NER)MOST CAVE, where I need to confront the writing task and its emotional ‘pain’, as well as its relief, all the fears and doubts, all the questions and then search for answers, before facing THE ORDEAL. To me ‘The Ordeal’ of my writing would be the fear of not finishing the job, the journey, that piece of writing; not to achieve the REWARD of clarifying thoughts, emotions, making sense of myself and my writing, and finishing it successfully.  And then, I have to take THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World, which is the one where I live my reality and communicate with others; where I rest, read, travel, stay with family and friends… and find inspiration and energy to prepare myself for the next writing trip, for the next journey. But, until I arrive in my ordinary world, on the road back, I have to reread, rethink and rewrite some parts of my writing journey so I’m satisfied with myself and the way I have answered the initial call and all the questions that emerged from it.  I definitely have learnt something else about myself through the journey, I have gained insight, freedom, I’ve been released from that initial concern (RESURRECTION), and I am ready to offer my writing to others. I will then publish it and share the ELIXIR of that my journey with them.

I venture to say that any writer who is committed with their writing journey is a hero.

I also started this brief essay saying that to me this writing journey seems endless. And it seems like this because once I have finished the first draft, trying to release, using words to organize that part of my journey through life, other questions arise (it’s as though I’d received another call), and then another journey must begin. The end of that piece of writing could be just the beginning of another. And even then the same piece of writing can be rethought, redrafted, written and rewritten in what could be an endless task. To avoid this, I have to say to myself: ‘ok, leave it for now. You’ll take it up again another time’, or ‘well, this is it. It is finished. Don’t go over and over again. It’s time to give it to someone else and see if you can publish it’.
What I’ve called ‘an endless journey of self-discovery’ of my writing process implies the act of listening to myself in great depth. This listening is not so much in the first draft of any piece (where I write in a more fresh and cathartic way) as in the act of reading and rewriting it (where I want to understand and make more sense to myself and my writing). This second stage of reading and rewriting is when I pay more attention to words, punctuation, content, structure, form… And it is then that I really grow in the knowledge of myself, my surroundings, and other people.

In ‘Write Yourself’, Gillie Bolton describes how expressive and explorative writing is a process of deep listening and understanding to yourself, and then, as a result, to personal development, ‘You’re not listening to yourself as you write. (…) You listen to yourself after you write, rereading. (…) The process of gaining inside is three-staged: first the dash onto the page, then rereading to the self, then the sometimes emotional reading and sharing with a carefully chosen other (or others).’ (Bolton 2011, p.19)

Rewriting and listening to oneself are inseparable activities during the creative process of writing, and as a writer I am doing these two activities until I decide that that journey is finished. Some writers consider that it is finished once the piece (short story, novel, poem…) is published and given to the reader. I think so as well, though sometimes I come back to the theme of the piece and write another, continuing the journey but taking another direction, approaching the question or ‘initial  call’ from another angle, to explore and try to discover something new that I left behind and that is calling me as well.


Vogler, C. (1996) The Writer’s Journey. London: Pan
Bolton, G. (2011) Write Yourself. Creative Writing and Personal Development. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Not just for the sake of beauty, is all about freedom

I have been writing, drafting and redrafting hundreds of pieces of poetry and prose. To me, as I usually intend to do as a writer, the main intention for creating these pieces is not to create beauty for the sake of it but to explore, organise and put a certain order to my thoughts, feelings and emotions, as well as to understand myself as a whole and to value the fact that I am alive, to be thankful for and to prize my life. As a writer, and perhaps more unconsciously than I would like, I realise this is what I’ve been doing all my life, and this is definitely what I do, much more at the starting point of any creation. It doesn’t matter if I write in English or in Spanish, something deep inside dictates, and I use the words I know (unfortunately not as many in English as in Spanish) and the grammar I know (which is not as good in English). I really believe that you don’t need too much knowledge of language to be honest, to be yourself, to communicate and tell your personal and deepest truth, you just need to release your inner self, or to have the facility to spit your intimate feelings out. Art, and writing in this case, is all about freedom, about wanting to be free. I also can’t deny that after so many years of writing I have acquired a certain ability that is somehow within me. Later, once I have written in a sort of cathartic way, I read the piece, redraft it, and think again and again about the words I’ve used, the meaning and content of them as in the piece whether poetry or prose. ‘Is this what I really want to say?’, I ask myself. And then, while rewriting it, if I can improve the form of the piece and create beauty then so much the better, if not I don’t bother too much. I am what I call ‘an emotional writer’. In my modest opinion this is what most of writers should do, the ones that I like at least. To me, this is the most amazing and powerful characteristic of the act of writing: to organize through language chaotic thoughts, feelings and emotions into an ordered and sensitive piece that makes sense and moves the reader emotionally, as well as making the writer feel good. ‘The very act of putting words on paper can foster self-esteem and affirm the viability of one’s truth’. (Giebel 2011, p. 153).

Having said that, I want to comment in this brief essay on just one piece I posted last year.

I wanted to write a poem which should start with: ‘This is just to ’ Then, pen in hand I wrote in my notebook something to honour and give more value to my life, and to the mere fact of being alive and being satisfied with that.

My life, this is just to say

This is just to say I want you
Maybe not in the best way,
with enough understanding,
wisdom and know how.

This is just to say I need you,
with your misery and magnanimity,
bad and good times
And the struggle to find the beauty of every day.

This is just to say I’m proud of you
Although sometimes I ask you for too much,
other times for too little,
and other times for nothing, almost forgetting about you.

This is just to say I`ve never hated you
In spite of the pain, the sweat, the bad nights and the tears,
I take you how you are,
just feeling the energy you give me.

This is just to say I’m sorry
when sometimes I forget or even don´t want to take care of you.
And I smoke a cigarette
And I eat little, or badly
And I let your time slip out of my hands.

This is to say I love you
My life, I love you.
And I don´t want you to leave me.
Please, don’t leave me in The Nowhereland.

This is just to say what He said:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself’
And I love you, my life. I love you.
What a difficult task!

When I finished the first draft of the poem I didn’t know how much of me was in it. ‘Poetry is not just an outpouring of emotion. Many poems explore complex patterns of thoughts or show how the poet moved from one thought through to another and either arrived at some conclusion.’ (Hedges 2005, pg. 4).

I wrote it straight into English. Then I decided to translate it to Spanish to feel the rhythm, the flow, and the effect of that. The power of emotions was the same, in either English or Spanish, from simple language, simple grammar: straight from my own feelings, from my own self.
The poem has a lot of autobiographical-existential meaning, with my own way of understanding and confronting life. ‘The language is not a big deal after all’, I said to myself once more. ‘I suppose it would have the same meaning and strength if it was written in Chinese or Russian.’ I don’t even think there would be many cultural or political barriers not to grasp the essence of it, even though every single reader can get his own personal feeling from it.

The structure is simple. It has six stanzas of four verses each, and one, the last, which has five. The extra line in the last stanza is a way of ending the journey of the poem and also of finding a conclusion.

This is just to say I want you’, I started with. And I really want and appreciate my life, myself; knowing over time more and more about my rights and wrongs, my hesitations, my mistakes…

‘This is just to say I need you’, I wrote. Knowing about bad and good days, moments of pain and happiness, and the difficulties I can find in everyday life to get the good from the bad: ‘And the struggle of finding the beauty of everyday’, I wrote. This last verse has also the subtle meaning of my job as a writer, as well as the way I have to approach life experiences in a positive way.

‘This is just to say I’m proud of you’, the third stanza commences. And I’m really proud of myself, though it might sound arrogant. I’m proud of my struggle in life, even though sometimes I can get lazy, other times stressed or desperate, or just down.

‘This is just to say I’ve never hated you’, I state in the fourth stanza. And then I use the word ‘pain’, being more explicit about the struggle of life and what it has been for me. Although I have been struggling all my life with health problems, which has caused me some physical disabilities, I have never hated life. Maybe this is just because I’ve had various experiences close to death, which make me definitely value the enormous meaning and potential of living, of being creatively alive, in spite of the dark side that life could contain. Or maybe it is just that I am a positive thinking person by nature. But I’m more inclined to think that if you are a survivor of any kind of personal and extreme traumatic experience you have a better capability to know how to value life and have a better level of tolerance toward frustration than others who haven’t had that kind of experience.

Let me quote at this point a sentence of Viktor E. Frankl, the Viennese psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz concentration camp and created ‘logotherapy’: ‘There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life’. (Frankl 2004, p. 109)

‘This is just to say I’m sorry’, I apologize in the fifth stanza. And basically I do apologize because of being sometimes careless and not responsible enough for my life, not taking enough care of myself and the time I am honored to live life. This stanza carries also implicitly the legacy of the love and education I have received from my parents, and their struggle in saving my life and keeping my health as good as possible, which is what makes me feel responsible and kind of regretful if I don’t do the same myself. Regarding the German psychologist Bert Hellinger, and the process he describes as ‘Family Constellations’, it is more than obvious to me the impact that education and family have on each individual, who could be said to belong to his/her parents and is bonded and takes example whether consciously or unconsciously from past attitudes and behaviors towards him/her and other family members. ‘When an individual wishes to work on a relationship issue, a theme in their life or an illness, we seek to look at entanglements within a family system that may be at the root of disruptive life patterns.’ (Payne 2006, p. 1)

‘This is just to say I love you’, I remark in the sixth stanza to almost end the poem. To me, to say ‘I love you’ is the most emotionally descriptive way to say how much you appreciate someone (my life in this case). However, this love has the meaning of needing, almost begging when I end the stanza with ’Please, don’t leave me in the Nowhereland’. This is definitely a fear of death, of dying without doing all things I would like to do, and without finishing all my writing work; without being remembered after death and then ‘surviving death’ after all.

‘This is just to say what He said’, I quote in the last stanza. And I use this Biblical quote meaning that if it’s difficult to love and take good care of yourself, much more difficult it is to love and take good care of your relationships with others: ‘What a difficult task!’

I realise how much this poem has implicit in it a high degree of optimism and positive thinking, which I think is an essential part of my personality. Regarding this, through my experience I’ve noticed that being a positive person could represent a thread for a negative person, even if I try to be empathic with him/her. Positive (sane) and negative (insane) thinking are energies with contrary polarities. Due to the limited amount of words designated for this essay I’d have to explore this idea and give further explanations in a longer one.



Giebel, G. (2011) Poetry and story therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Hedges, D. (2005) Poetry,Thearapy & Emotional Life. Oxon: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd

Payne, J. (2006) The language of the soul. Scotland: Findhorn Press

Frankl, V. (2004) Man’s Search for Meaning. Random House Group Ltd

What makes a good listener: A brief essay about listening as a way of helping

In social conversations (at parties, at work, in group meetings; with friends, family and relatives…) we talk and listen, discuss and tell our opinion. Then we share points of views and concerns that are relevant for the participants. In a helping conversation the act of communication must change and ‘active listening’ is what matters. Then the other is the one to listen to with in-depth and full understanding. This active listening should involve not only understanding of the verbal speaker’s message (its content) but also the vocal cues and body language (its context), so we experience him/her as if the experiences were our own.
In any relationship, we have to bear in mind the situation and interests that both parties have in the act of communication: the speaker and the listener/s. A talk between a teacher and his/her students is not the same as the conversation between father and son or mother and daughter, the chat between two close friends is not the same as the one between people who have just met at a party; it’s not the same conversation between a girl and a boy who have just met than that between boyfriend and girlfriend or even wife and husband, and so on… What makes the difference? In my modest opinion it is basically the interest that moves these two parties to the act of communication. If the interest of one of the parties is to help the other, individual or group, then we are talking about a helping relationship. ‘To put it in another way, a helping relationship might be defined as one in which one of the participants intends that there should come about, in one or both parties, more appreciation of, more expression of, more functional use of the latent inner resources of the individual.’ Carl R. Rogers (1961) ‘On becoming a person’ –pg 40- Constable & Robinson Ltd. London
Therefore, if we want to have a relationship of ANY kind in which we intend to help, the listening part of it must have these characteristics:
– Congruence. ‘By this I mean that whatever feeling or attitude I am experiencing would be matched by my awareness of that attitude.’ (C. Rogers 1961: 51) Which we can rephrase as being oneself, being aware of oneself and allowing oneself to show through to the other participants.
– Unconditional positive regard. Which basically means to maintain a positive attitude towards the other person: an attitude of warmth, caring, interest and respect.
We should keep a warm and safe relationship in which we respect the feelings and emotions of the person we want to help, but at the same time being always ourselves, knowing and understanding that we are a separate and different person, with our own experiences and attitudes toward life, personal feelings and emotions, and yet keeping this warmth and caring spirit, with no fears of being taken over by his/her own feelings and emotions. And then, we also must permit him/her to be himself/herself in a non-judgmental, free and safe relationship.
– Genuineness. With the so called unconditional acceptance, or what C. Rogers called ‘unconditional positive regard’ I just mentioned before, this is the second of the three core conditions that must be present in ANY helping relationship.
Genuineness is precisely about listening to oneself as a listener/counselor, about being authentic, ‘being myself’. To help others one needs to be aware of all that is going on inside oneself while listening. It means being open to one’s own experience, not shutting off any of it, and letting this out in such a way that the person seeking help can gain the benefit of it. ‘One way of putting this which may seem strange to you is that if I can form a helping relationship to myself –if I can be sensitively aware of and acceptant toward my own feelings- then the likelihood is great that I can form a helping relationship toward another. Now, acceptantly to be what I am, in this sense, and to permit this to show through to the other person, is the most difficult task I know and one I never fully achieve.’ (Carl R. Rogers 1961: 51)
Empathy. Many therapists think this is the first and most important quality in a helping relationship. It means getting inside the world of the person to help so he/she feels accepted and understood.
Two things are definitively relevant to this: that the empathy is accurate, and that that is made known to the client. This accuracy means precisely the listener’s ability to listen, identify with and receive the other person in an unconditional, non-judgmental and acceptant way.

John McLeod: ‘Counselling Skill’. Open University Press 2007
Carl R. Rogers: ‘On becoming a person’. First published by Constable & Robinson Ltd – GB, London – 1967

How can I?

How can I find my YES
How can I find my NO
How can I find my THAT’S ALL RIGHT
How can I find my THAT’S WRONG
The GOOD ones, I mean
The GOOD ones I should know
Like a leaf knows its sprig
Like a tree knows its roots
Where can I find my TIME
Where can I find my PLACE
Where can I find my LAND
Where can I find my HOME
The REAL ones, I mean
The REAL I should stay on
Like a child knows his mum
Like a father knows his son

If I don’t work

If I don’t work
My tools get rusty
My body is anxious
My mind depressed
And I’m lost

If I don’t write
My hands get numb
My heart stops
My soul dries
And I’m going nowhere