Alberto Pavan Life Coaching and Counselling

Taking risks in a reflective practice

Taking risks can be unwise, taking risks can be dangerous taking risks can be immature, taking risks doesn't pay back. I don't take many risks and I am not the most courageous when faced with a situation that involves a degree of gambling.

As a practitioner, however, I am trained to aim at a reflective practice. A reflective practice means that I reflect on my interactions client-therapist and I learn from my own practice. This means that I learn from my own mistakes, or, I reflect on how my performance could have been more helpful to the client, more productive, more inclusive, more self-aware, more professional.

It also means that I must be prepared to acknowledge what I could have done better. Such reflection is usually done in a specific setting which it is the counsellor's supervision.

I am, however, running a blog, which for me it is another opportunity to reflect on my practice. I have debated with myself if ti is at all appropriate that I wash my dirty laundry in public, if it may be of any interest to the public and it there is any advantage for me to do so.

I couldn't come up with a clear answer. I am painfully aware that my blog is not one of the most popular reading material of my potential clients, so, to an extent, it doesn't really matter what I allow myself to publicly disclose, never the less, by reflecting in this setting, I am potentially exposing my dirty laundry.

In this case I have decided that I may take a risk. This is a decision based on the fact that, if I were to be looking for a new therapist, I probably would be impressed by this hypothetical individual to be doing so. I would think that this is a person that has some congruence and integrity.

Before I went on my yearly long-ish holiday, I saw a potential client for an assessment. I had some technical difficulties and I was nt able to print the assessment form. I thought nothing of using the electronic form saved on my laptop. Also, my studio was not presentable for the occasion. I had to receive him in my living room.

My screen-saver is an image to me dear, but it is personal and it gives away plenty about my personality and my taste. My living room also is a reflection of who I am. This potential client had the opportunity to learn an awful lot about his potential future therapist.

I could have worked well with this client, but, at the end, when I asked him if he wanted to book a session after my holiday or if he would have preferred to leave it to my return he went for the second option, never to be seen again.

I did not give him the best possible customer care. I subliminally asked him to put up with my difficulties and to imagine a professionalism I did not demonstrate to him. I also showed him my private self. He had no need to know my frame of references; by doing so I gave him the opportunity to decide that we were different and I was probably not suitable to his needs.

Because of my sloppy assessment, I missed out on a client I may have wanted to work with and h has missed out on a therapist that could have actually taken on his needs and give him some support. A loose/loose situation,

After the event, I have asked to myself why on earth I thought that it may have been a good idea to give him such a shabby treatment and why I have expose myself to such a degree when I could have cancelled the assessment of I couldn't offer it to him at the best of my capabilities. Did I not want this client at an unconscious level? Possible, never the less, I still do not know why.

But such situation has reminded me of how many opportunities we may missed because we are not self-aware enough and what a big part we play in what we can easily disregard as bad luck or at not being wanted or appreciated.

Return to blogging


After a long silence, I will return to regular blogging very soon. I am about to end a working contract that kept me occupied for most of the day and made me very tired at the end of the day.

I will keep up discussing different aspects of my practice and the topics that may influence it.

I would like to have discussion forums and for the blog to be a source of information exchange amongst other counsellors, potential clients, people interested in the subject I work with and friends.

I would welcome suggestions both clinical and technicals from whoever feels inclined to share experience, opinions or knowledge.

I am willing to share my blog with whoever wants to share point of views or open a topic. I am open to feedback and to learn new blogging techniques to include more voices.

My Blog. Alberto Pavan Counselling


My goodness! I have been so busy with my agency job, which revealed itself to be unexpectedly satisfactory ( and it pays the bills), my personal trainer's course and my own training , that I completely overlooked my blogging,

This activity has become something one does, once one has attended to the "real work" which unavoidably it is intended as the bread winning activity, which it takes the best 8 hours of the day. Then there is the gym and the course to study for. There are the daily emails to sort out and a look at FB, just to relax a little and the day is gone.

I am back now because of some information I casually picked up on social media!I
I found this unexpected information to be quite enlightening. It fit the puzzle of my understanding of the self. It came in the form of a You Tube video about a mother that wanted to give justice to her misunderstood and under-appreciated daughter. It appeared on my screen on the back of another video on YouTube on - Evolution and Homosexuality - posted by a has been totally coincidental, but it informed me on something I knew on an intuitive level, but I was not aware that it was actually formalised as a fact.

It regarded different types of intelligence. academic intelligence is concerned with 2 of the 7 existing typologies of intelligence: linguistic and logical. Because our society measure our ability to demonstrate that we are intelligent on academic results, these two types of intelligence have monopolised our interest and attention and we don't even know that there are 5 more types of it. There is also interpersonal, intra-personal, musical, spacial and Kinehestetic intelligence. At last, I found out that my struggles with math, does not make me a stupid person, my unusual way of writing does not mean that I am not less intelligent of whom who express themselves more conventionally. I am not going to demonstrate how my intelligence can fit some of the other typologies, This is not my own self-vindication page, this is for all of us. Let's recognise who we are. Many of us left school thinking themselves more stupid than other, many of us have suffered and have had their self-esteem compromised by the fact that their intelligence did not get recognised. It is a terrible unfair deal we get given. Who carries an intelligence that has not been positioned in the academia system, is not a looser, not a donkey, not a second class. This person has as much intelligence as it is needed to be the unique member of society that he/she is.

My Blog. Alberto Pavan Counselling


A curious coincidence

For pure selfish reasons, I decided that I would specialise my practice towards men over 40. It is easier to talk about what you know and have experienced personally. I have been 40 for 18 years now, so this is a subject I have a lot of experience with.

If you talk about difficulty to keep up a muscular body, I know how it feels. If we talk about loss of strength, if last you were able to bench 60 kg thinking nothing of it and now you are struggling with 40, I have been there. If you have been to the Chinese herbalist to discretely buy a tonic to enhance your libido, yes, I know that one too!If you talk about Andropause, I know what it is.

I think I have a good experience of ageing men. I am interested in the subject and I would like to work with them. I began to look around, research online, look at magazines, at advertisements and I was quite surprised to find out that my targeted clientele has in fact, already been targeted by so many other fronts. YouTube already has super-fit trainers that peddle gym workouts for us,oldies, magazines are crowded with advertisements for miraculous synergies of ingredients that return you to your energy levels of your 30s. Viagra is almost as available as Paracetamol.

I have to face a tough competition if I want to offer something that is original enough to surf the sea of information and hit the target!I must say that, as tempting as they may be, I absolutely do not believe in miraculous solutions, youth potions or ultimate workouts that return you to your 20. Age makes us different, there is no doubt, and, let alone the physical side, but even psychologically, we could no longer feel 20.

Eternal youth it is not something I can promise to my clients. Sorry. But it is not all doom and gloom....

My Blog. Rioipanema

What we can do......

Yes.... not all of this is bad. I feel certainly different then in 20s, or 30s or even 40s for that matter, but not necessarily worse

I have accumulated invaluable experience and knowledge. I've lived some years of good life that made me an optimist. I probably feel less the need to get out there and conquer the world (sometimes a little decrease in the testosterone level can actually be a blessing in disguise).
If I had a genie that gave me the option to go back to my 20s, I would accept it only if I could retain my current brain. The reason why I am here is that I've noticed that amongst the sea of miraculous cures against ageing, there are some recurrent themes. Some of them I already was aware of, some I have already been putting in practice, not to turn back time, that not even Cher can do that, but to live my age to the full and be at my best .
In no particular order, I am now going to list some common elements that I found effective to a reasonable degree:

  • Cardiovascular exercise is not advisable for MEN over 40 - True, it is a fact that long cardiovascular routines increase the production of Cortisol which affect the Testosterone level for up to 48 hours. It makes you loose weight, but also you may be loosing lean muscles, not only fat. I have given up my cardio about 1 year ago and I see my body in better shape. I didn't increase in weight, but my body looks fuller, more muscly.

  • Replace Cardio with Compound exercises - True, I guarantee you that you will see the results if you do that. As a warm up , replace your 20, 30 minutes of cardio with some high intensity exercise that involve a number of muscles (squats, lunges, baby burps) and rests. Also compound exercises make you work out faster as it involves many muscles at once. It is time effective! Bench press is a compound exercise as it involves pecs and triceps, Dead lift and Eve press are the compound exercises par excellence. Master them! They will do your body the world of good. Big lean muscles make testosterone, which helps building more lean muscles, which help to produce more testosterone, which helps to build more lean muscles and so on.
  • Apple cider vinegar or lemon is good to be taken on an empty stomach in the morning - True, at least it is for me. I have spoken to enough dieticians and nutritionists to know that an acid drink in the morning on an empty stomach is a good way to detox and it speeds up metabolism. It is an acquired taste, but now I look forward to having it.

  • Milk thistle is a powerful detox - Absolutely true! It is actually recognised by allopathic medicine that Milk Thistle is a powerful hepatic protector, so it is artichoke . They do help. They also help to decrease the toxicity caused by creatine, which it is a widely used supplement.
  • Eggs are good for you and should be eaten daily - They are an excellent source of proteins and apparently the yolk help with increasing testosterone. So the trend of having only the white has now gone. The yolk has also good cholesterol, so it is to be included in your breakfast.
    And, for the moment, this is all. I am now experimenting with Extra Virgin Coconut oil, that apparently is also a new dietary trend, but I've just started and I can't say much about it yet. At the next.

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