"A Counsellor’s Companion" Book Review
What is this book about?
This book by Kim Billington, “A Counsellor’s Companion: Creative Adventures for Child Counsellors, Parents and Teachers”, is quite literally a book about creativity in the adventures of working with children and young people… although as Kim says, and I agree, adults can also benefit from these therapeutic practices and ideas. The book is illustrated by Tamar Dolev.
“A Counsellor’s Companion” provides a multitude of creative interventions including expressive arts, narrative practices such as externalizing and metaphors, and both playful and serious ways to connect with clients and explore and address presenting issues.
This book provides practical ways of working including:
- Building rapport and starting off the therapeutic process…and how to say goodbye.
- Considering “what’s wonderful about me?”
- Externalising the Problem and working with the Problem from this perspective (a great approach for all sorts of Problems).
- Metaphors for a variety of problems and therapeutic processes.
- Making sense of things.
- Understanding emotions and working with emotions.
- Working with loss.
- Using therapeutic stories and therapeutic storytelling.
- Working with trauma from a Tree of Life perspective.
Why do I like this book?
I love that this book felt like a conversation between Kim and the reader … in this case myself ;)
I really appreciated the way Kim was able to present the creative therapeutic activities in ways that made them easily understandable and accessible. There is a fantastic range of activities presented with therapeutic stories to help guide thinking about what the activities will look like in practice, and how they might be helpful and useful.
For me this book was a great refresher of ideas and well as introducing new creative ideas, and overall, a re-invigoration of creative, child-centred therapy. Even after 25 years of practicing, I love to be exposed to new ideas, and learn new things.
And, of course, sharing a love of Narrative Practice, I really loved the emphasis on things like separating the Problem from the Person so that it is more easily explored, less daunting, and at times the work is fun! Narrative Therapy has a reputation for playful approaches to serious problems and “A Counsellor’s Companion” continues in this tradition. It’s no mean feat to be thoughtful and considered, as well as playful.
The illustrations are not only super cute and embody a sense of ‘realness’, but help illustrate the points in the text and make concepts and activities come to life.
And finally, in a world where online counselling has become a major part of practice, it’s fantastic to have Kim share how to adapt activities to an online forum and recommend online resources.
This is a book for both experienced and beginning Helping Professionals.
How do I use the book?
This book was refreshing and reinvigorating for me with a variety of ideas – some old companions to myself, some new companions, and some companions ‘in different clothes’. I loved reading these ideas, reconnecting with some creative practices and learning some new tips and creative approaches…. I immediately ordered a set of ‘yes/no buttons’! They were a big hit!
I am, and will continue to, use this book for creative ideas in my therapeutic practice, including creativity in psychoeducation. I am also sharing this book with helping professionals and services I consult with.
This Counsellor’s Companion will likely be a constant, fun, creative companion for myself and many others working in the helping field.
I love this book and I hope you love it too.
Let me know your thoughts and how you use the book.
Dr Leonie White - Clinical Family Therapist and Psychologist
Helping people grow, connect and thrive in life’s unique journey.
Photo Credit - Quote with the child photo - Ramin Talebi on Unsplash
Please note - this article is educational in nature and does not constitute therapy advice.
Please seek help from a professional if you require support.