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The counselling profession, along with many others, has its fair share of jargon.  You may be quite familiar with the difference between ‘UPR’ and ‘transference’, or between the ‘inner child’ and the ‘drama triangle’, but if you’re not then don’t worry - that’s not really supposed to be the client’s main concern, after all.  The most important ‘ingredient’ in a successful outcome for therapy has been shown time and again to be the relationship, or the quality of the connection between the counsellor and the person seeking support.


Two terms which you may hear bandied about between therapists are clients’ ‘implicit issues’ and ‘explicit issues’.  I thought I would write today a little about what the difference between these terms is, and hopefully de-mystify them.  Put simply, what is ‘explicit’ is what is going on ‘above and in the open’, and what is ‘implicit’ could perhaps be described as ‘what lurks beneath the surface’.  Maybe you can appreciate that if something is not recognized and acknowledged, it is difficult to deal with it effectively?


Sometimes we know that something “isn’t right” in our life, but that might be the extent of our awareness.  At some level we know there is “a problem”, but not perhaps what it is or where it’s coming from.  It’s here that the relationship is so important.  Perhaps you would agree that we only open ourselves up to those we feel comfortable with, and not threatened by?  Trust, therefore, is what makes the therapeutic relationship one which can be used to explore a little more deeply, when the client is ready.  The apparent stillness of the surface can in time be penetrated, and we can see if we can identify those things which usually live outside of our view.  These issues may not be pleasant, and there may be some hard work identified in the depths, but often clients’ sense of satisfaction is strongest if they can say that they have successfully faced and dealt with an issue that has been ‘lurking’ and causing discomfort for quite some time.  There can also be I think some merit in ‘unmasking’ what has been ignored – often the reality, while not pretty, can be less daunting when stared in the eyes than the thorny monster our minds often create as being resident in the shadows.


A solid relationship with a counsellor, based on respect, trust and warmth can provide a firm foundation from which to explore what lies beneath.  How does that sound to you – would you care to take a look?



Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy


Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com


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Implicit or Explicit: What Lies Beneath?

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