Imagine for a moment going to see a counsellor…

Perhaps you’re struggling with feeling unheard, unappreciated, unnoticed. You long to connect with kindness, to let go of wounding thoughts.

You enter their office. The wooden floor glows softly in the afternoon sun. An old, much loved rug feels warm under your feet. A gentle breeze brings the scent of honeysuckle in through an open window. You feel the tension begin to melt away with blessed relief.

Then your counsellor stands 2m in front of face and YELLS AT YOU.

In no uncertain terms they tell you exactly what’s wrong with you. Exactly what you are doing wrong. And exactly what you should do to fix it. At full decibels so that even the patients in the dentist down the road hear every last word.

How you feeling now? Still got the sense of ease? Still got a sense of safety?

No. That’s all long gone. Headed behind the sofa, like the five-year old you watching a particularly scary episode of Dr Who. Frightened. Refusing to come out.

What on earth has this to do with lousy migraine?

I’ve heard more times than I’d like to, from someone who believes that to get into the deep muscle layers that they need to be pounded. With force.

Beat those muscles into submission. Pound those myofascial trigger points.

Well, here’s the thing. That’s the last thing you need.

Just as it isn’t good to have a counsellor scream into your face, it’s not good to have a bodywork therapist scream into brain. And that in effect is what happens when your body is bashed and pounded.

I get that it may feel good – that it may feel like its needed. But, in the long run it’s counterproductive. How’s that? Because it confuses your brain.

It shouts at your brain: DO THIS NOW!!

The upshot of which means that you, your brain and your body don’t get the space you need to learn for yourself. Yet that’s the key to sustaining benefits.

Why shout at your brain when you could choose to have a gentle chat instead?

I’m going to ask you to consider this. How would it be if you let go of the attachment to being pulverised? If instead, you gave yourself permission to choose a bodywork therapist who works with you, your body and your brain

With consideration, with thought, with listening touch. Does it mean that your response, to begin with, is more subtle?

Most likely, yes.

Yet in the long term it allows transformative change to occur within you. Instead of grabbing at a quick fix that just as quickly, frustratingly disappears.

You may find at first that you have some resistance to this different approach. You are not alone. On session three with my clients typically the same thing happens. Not with everyone, for sure. But more often than not while my client is up on the table this exchange takes place.

First they hold their breath, followed by tightening of their shoulders. I can almost see the conversation going on inside them.

“Shall I tell Jan or not?”

Then, they begin to breathe again, their shoulders ease. Decision made. They share this to me:

“You know, at first I thought your pressure was too light.”


“After my first session, I went home thinking how can this possibly help.” Breath settles even more. “But, I’ve noticed I’m feeling a little different. I sort of feel more connected, more whole. I’m starting to be aware just how much I’m holding my shoulders. How I clench my jaw when I’m thinking. I’d not really noticed that so clearly before”.

Big smile from me.