The online Certificate in Counselling course includes an exercise reflecting on and experiencing silence.

But silence can be difficult.  Silence can convey a whole host of emotions.  And surely, the whole reason you are there as a therapist is to listen to what your client is saying?

So what’s your experience of silence?  How on earth can you have a “silent conversation”?

Well, of course, there’s a lot of non-verbal communication that can be involved in sitting in silence with someone.  We communicate in so many more ways than words alone.

But the silent conversation I have in mind right now is very active and creative.  Try it for yourself....

First you will need a trusted partner or friend.

And some sheets of paper.  Either stick them together as you go along, or work on a roll of wallpaper lining paper.  The kind of paper doesn’t matter.  The size of paper doesn’t matter.  But it simply needs to be something you can add to as you go along.

You will also need crayons, pens, pencils, paints....anything you want to work with.

And someone to start the conversation.

For the person starting the conversation, draw out your feelings.  Or something that is on your mind.  You can use pictures, words, colours, shapes....anything that works on a personal level.  Spend some time simply putting it down on paper.

In silence.

Remember we are not talking about the Tate Gallery here – this is entirely personal and what it looks like is less important than what it conveys.

When you have finished, turn your paper round towards the other person and allow them to draw out their response on the paper.

In silence.

Again, when they have finished, they turn the paper back round to you.

Repeat this process until the person who started the conversation feels they are finished.

Now spend some time looking at your long stretch of paper together.  Continue to do this in silence for a while until you start to want to talk about it between the two of you.

Powerful, creative, engaging and empowering.  Just trust the process!

What’s on your mind right now?

Acknowledgements to Hugh Dunford-Wood for sharing this creative technique with me some years ago.