The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

January 2010: What’s in a Name?

Posted on Jan 15, 2010

At the risk of being bland or uninspired, my counselling practice does not yet have a moniker.

I have given much thought over what to call this counselling practice and have been left dissatisfied with any of the outcomes. I am very much drawn to the journey and pathway metaphor for life itself and the counselling experience especially.

In life, as in counselling, detours—sometimes seemingly meaningless—are briefly encountered only to return to the well-used ruts of the principle path. Other times, side trails lead off into whole new directions well worth the time and effort of exploration—in contrast to the monotonous humdrum of the main, well-worn, everyday path. And then there are the dark stretches of dreary travel—at times overwhelming or downright terrifying.

Life—and certainly any journey—is an adventure of ups and downs, twists and turns—including times when a guide, or at the very least a companion, would surely be appreciated. In that sense, Pathways Counselling Adventures: Guided Tours seems a fitting way to package the counselling experience. And yet, it is not quite the essence I am trying to encapsulate in a name.

Still, I am drawn to the journey metaphor like a moth to the flame. My latest dalliance with this concept has introduced me to a new word: peregrinatio. It is an ancient Celtic word somewhat akin to pilgrimage, yet is heavy with deeper meaning. Author Esther de Waal in her book The Celtic Way of Prayer (1997) explains it thus:

There is no specific end or goal such as that of reaching a shrine or a holy place that allows the pilgrim at the end of the journey to return home with a sense of a mission accomplished. Peregrinatio is not undertaken at the suggestion of some monastic abbot or superior but because of an inner prompting in those who set out, a passionate conviction that they must undertake what was essentially an inner journey. (p. 2)

Peregrinatio: an inner journey. So much of life, and counselling, occurs where eye cannot see and ear cannot hear—only the heart and mind. It is a journey we are somehow compelled to make; yet it is not about the destination, but what is encountered en route. A journey of discovery.

And so this journey continues: that inner journey to wholeness and wellness; that intellectual journey to find a good name that captures the essence of the counselling experience; the journey of life itself full of joys and sorrows, adventure and monotony.

What has your journey been like? Any adventures you’d like to share?

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