When I was young and my father used to take the family out on trips on Sunday afternoons, my mother was in charge of sandwiches.

Now, although my mother was really creative with sewing, dressmaking and embroidery, I didn’t feel she extended that same creativity to sandwiches.

A cheese sandwich was exactly that.  One slice of cheese between two slices of bread spread with margarine.  Ham or chicken sandwiches received the same treatment.

As I grew older, and being the ever rebellious teenager that I was, I started to challenge this concept of my mother’s and remonstrated strongly about the need for a bit of variety, added extras...and even perhaps a cheese and tomato sandwich.....

So my mother eventually obliged by making the usual cheese sandwich and giving each of us one whole tomato with it.

Obviously over the years food fashions change, choices multiply, and my understanding and awareness of personal processes is much better developed.

The choice of breads, sandwich fillings and creative combinations is endless.

But that doesn’t mean that what I put in my sandwiches is any more right or wrong than what you put in yours, or my mother in hers.

There is room for both the toasted ciabatta with smashed avocado, pickled red onions, feta, watercress and pumpkin seeds, just as much as my mother’s cheese (and tomato) sandwich.

Just as I longed for my mother to be a little more creative in the sandwich department, we might long, as a therapist, for a client to be more confident, more of a risk-taker, and more creative with their life.

And we might even ultimately feel a failure in ourselves and with our work if they do not follow the route and potential we would wish for them.

But your client is not you.  Their life is not yours.  They might adopt that little bit of extra creativity by adding the tomato to their cheese sandwich, just like my mother.  For them that may be all the change they want to engage with at that moment.

But their sandwich will taste as good to them as any fantastic creation you or I might spend endless hours planning and making.

The skill is in knowing when the client wants more and enabling them to create a different sandwich for themselves, and when they want, or need, to stay with what they have.

What’s your sandwich filling today?