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  • Jan-Paul Van Dessel

They're not just stones on a plate.

Part of the vast range of talking therapies, counselling is not just about talking. In fact, it can be very difficult sometimes to find the words that truly describe the dynamic relationships we are living in or the depth and variety of emotions we are experiencing - often many at the same time and potentially some in conflict with the others.


Using such a simple tool, like a plate of stones, can help someone take a creative control of some of what can feel like chaotic, disorganised or not well studied aspects of their lives. The stones could as an example reflect a network of family/friends and how they might be positioned in their 'real world'. How does each relate to the other? where are the connections strong? who or what needs attention? what is said between them? .... the possibilities to explore are endless.


Stones from Wemyss Bay beach. Plate handmade by my late friend Davie Adams.

Taking control, the client could position them as they would actually want them to be in their lives, or trial conversations where doing so in person just now might be difficult or risky. Once done, they can be safely returned to their plate, and perhaps come back to them in the future to see what has changed.


What is especially pleasing for me is that these particular stones have been collected from the local beach, just a small handful - so I hope a sustainable catch which can be returned to the beach in the future! and the plate was handmade by a very good friend of mine who died in 2018, Davie Adams (using a lathe we bought him as a thank you for all his kindness). So there is a sense for me that they fit well together, and that they truly belong in my counselling room. I think Davie would get a kick from that, and perhaps feel rather proud of being chosen in this way.

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