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February 20, 2018

Screws: A Counseling Technique

By Dr. Richard Boyum

I often keep a number of screws in my office that I will utilize in my counseling sessions. I often give them to clients to represent two different things: one serious and one more humorous. The serious use of the screw is to symbolize its role in keep something together that needs to be together. In life there are situations where this is simply the case. It may be a relationship, it may be something that someone needs to do to keep a job, or in fact, to keep there own mental health. The screw becomes a sign of the connectedness and its strength in holding something together. The second use is more tongue in cheek. Sometimes people will, in the vernacular, use phrases such as, I have really been screwed. In fact their story is one in which they have been taken advantage of, misunderstood, or abused. I will often present them with a screw, indicating that its color is silver. We do this in part to demonstrate that they have won the silver medal rather than the gold, because I always ask them for examples of a situation that may be worse than their own. In appropriate situations this helps them both acknowledge that they have been a victim in some kind of experience, but also realizing that something could be worse. See if this doesn't work as a grounding technique with your clients.