I haven't counseled in 15 years, but I still keep my LPC current, just in case, by taking classes and paying bi-yearly fees. Often, the workshops just aren't that interesting, but today I lucked out. From 9 AM to 4 PM, 12 other counselors and I were kept thoroughly entertained by Randy Jo Nielson; her topic was Anger Management, and she has some unorthodox counseling techniques. I'm always drawn to unorthodox, even though I didn't agree with everything she put forth.
The most intriguing idea she shared with us has its beginnings in antiquity, but she has cast a new light on it. She uses homemade divining rods to asses her clients' personal boundaries. Your boundary is the space around you where you feel comfortable, like an invisible fence that protects your physical, emotional and social space. Without being aware of it, we're constantly making judgments about how closely we're willing to let others approach. For example, your significant other, your mom or your best friend may be welcome to walk right up to you and put an arm around you while a stranger approaching you will cause you to start backing up if he or she gets closer than about 12 inches.
Randy showed us how to use them, and I have to admit I've always been skeptical of divining rods, but this works! She demonstrated them first with one of the counselors, and when he walked toward her, the rods held in her hands swung around to close the space when he was about a foot away. That's the limit where she felt comfortable with him approaching her. I had spoken to a lady as we went into the classroom, and she sat down beside me, so when we paired off, she and I got together. You know how occasionally you "click" with a stranger? Well, Sherry and I did, and it showed in the way our rods reacted. When either of us approached the other, the rods stayed open, not what anyone expected, but when we decided to take each other's photos, the rods closed because neither of us liked having our pictures taken.
Even though I'm no longer counseling, I'm planning to make my own divining rods to play with. They'd be fun at a family gathering, to see who feels comfortable in whose space. They will also measure the changes in people's emotions and the energy in the room. Cool stuff!