Our Cinnabar Toolkit for Counsellors has received a brilliant review in the current edition of Private Practice, BACP’s magazine title for subscribing members. For those of you who aren’t members or subscribers, here is the review in full by Trudi Dargan, a writer and counsellor in private practice in East Cornwall.
“This is a constructive and diverse compilation of 20 paper-based worksheets (tools) for working with clients.
Although Smith and Close are related (mother and daughter), their combined skills and experience in counselling, teaching, research and publishing are complementary and afford credence to the work.
The pictorial tools are designed to help clients identify, explore, understand and process their thoughts and feelings in the therapeutic setting.
Employing symbolism and metaphor throughout, the worksheets can be used to explore a broad spectrum of concerns, including relationship patterns and problems, childhood issues, stress, anxiety, unhelpful thinking patterns and grief.
Most of the paper-based tools are far from ground breaking, so won’t be new to many readers – timelines, mind maps, baggage, personal universe and anchors being ubiquitous – yet the authors shine in proposing a myriad of different ways of employing each individual tool with clients.
While the tools are ‘simple’, the authors are not advocating simplicity. Far from being prescriptive, Smith and Close explain and emphasise the versatility and scope of each tool and resist offering a reductive one-size-fits-all approach, thereby demonstrating their knowledge, experience and creativity.
Each tool is accompanied by a short fictitious case study demonstrating one way in which it could be used. These concise, clear examples add enormous value.
Similarly, the authors’ seven top tips for using the tools remind us of our responsibility. As they say, some tools, such as ‘Me and me: child parent, adult parent and relationship changes’, are designed to explore a specific issue in detail. Providing a clear structure enables the client to question or transform their viewpoint, and to reach a new understanding of their situation.
I would have preferred the worksheet ‘Blame and Fault’ to have been titled ‘Who is Responsible?’, yet this is a personal qualm.
Despite a propensity within counselling to associate paper based tools with cognitive therapeutic approaches, the authors stress that they are suitable for many different modalities, including person-centred.
The fact they advocate a non-directive, client-led approach when using the worksheets underpins this: ‘If you fill in a tool… with a client, use their words not yours. They should always have ownership of the work.’
As a huge fan of Drawing on Your Emotions and Drawing on Your Relationships, I wasn’t expecting to take much from this alternative toolkit, yet the thoroughness of Smith and Close’s workbook threw up new ways of working with old tools.
In my own clinical experience, there is no doubt that many clients, across the age range, continue to benefit enormously from putting their thoughts, feelings, intentions and ideas onto paper in order to produce something concrete. “
Find the “Cinnabar Toolkit for Counsellors” on Amazon UK or order and pay direct from our website by CLICKING HERE.