Fells and Dales meeting 15/05/20


We met to discuss a paper entitled “An overview of Victor Frankl’s Logotherapy” and an additional short list of exercises designed to illustrate the technique of   “cognitive defusion” as a way of dealing with anxiety.


Our discussions first focused on the impact of the current Covid 19 in terms of missing face to face counselling and instead using telephone or Zoom. We commented on the loss of immediacy and how the telephone in particular can be more intense and so facilitate client disclosure which can be positive but may also tend towards “too much too soon” and thus a need to encourage the client to slow down. Some clients may also feel less exposed if not face to face and so be less inhibited. A possible drawback can be that the client is less aware of the impact they are having on you as the counsellor and your responses risk being unsubtle and clumsy. Also eye contact can be difficult if using Zoom and this can be distracting for both counsellor and client.

A larger issue is whether the counsellor can trust their counter=transference with so much less “evidence” to go on?

We also wondered about the effect of the client seeing their image on the screen and that it could be useful to ask about this.

We then used the paper by Frankl as a kind of springboard for a more general discussion about working with meaning and with anxiety in particular. We thought of strategies to help clients re-frame or distract themselves from negative automatic thoughts and liked the ones in the second paper (5  ways to defuse anxious thoughts published by verywell mind). There was a reference to CBT techniques like keeping a thought diary and the notion of “wearing the energy out of a thought” through distancing and separating out experiencing and observing so the thought loses its sting. Also the notion of “parking” triggers can be releasing and so helpful.

Reference was made to a helpful website, Getselfhelp.co.uk and the 7 column thought record.

We also talked about “healthy” anxiety which may be present throughout life and whether the world is perceived as benign or antagonistic.  It was posited that there is a physiological and neuro-biological basis to anxiety which is part of our cell structure so can’t be escaped!


A link was made between the search for meaning and spirituality and a book was recommended entitled “ A history of everything, a short guide to Einstein”.

Our next meeting is scheduled for 26/06/20.

Rosemary Pitt