top of page

Counselling For Toads. By Robert de Board. Take-away thoughts

(friends)... For help him they would, whether he liked it or not.

(Toad in good mood) ...full of life and eager to outwit their well-meant exhortations.


- Toad, if I did not think that we are all capable of change and improvement, I would not be doing this work.

(about Toad after first session)

But if he had learnt anything from the first encounter, it was that the work he had to do could only be done by himself. He was beginning to realise that he had better start to grow up.

‘Feelings Thermometer’

Remember, there is nothing so practical as a good theory!

We develop behaviours which enable us to cope with our parents and others. And if we are lucky, we have enough energy left to enjoy life.

But then we must learn to adapt this natural behaviour to our particular circumstances, toning the colors down in order to survive and preserve our personal integrity.

I am beginning to realise this list describes not only my past, but also my present. What I learnt to do then is curiously close to how I behave now. I don’t know if that surprises me or not.

Like all angry people, he wanted to tell others what to do and then criticise them for their shortcomings.

Sulking is essentially a loser’s response to the more powerful winner.

‘Developing emotional intelligence’

‘I think confusion is often the first stage in the learning process’, said Heron. ‘It happens when fixed boundaries begin to unfreeze. You start to be confronted with new data that challenge existing beliefs and behaviour. It can be the beginning of creativity, the anxiety that drives the process of change’

Even if the sentence (jail) is light, it can be imposed for life.

About Toad ...He found that he was able to consider these very emotional and threatening ideas more rationally.

He was checking over his feelings much the same way as a pilot checks his instruments before take-off.

  • I should take responsibility for my own actions ?

  • And for your own feelings, said Heron.

He started to see trend in his behaviour and the ways in which one experience led to another.

But now he was beginning to gain the capacity to recall without condemning.

It was new to think that maybe he had a life-script.

That maybe he unconsciously engineered situations to enable that script to be regularly used.

We control events to make sure that our prophecy will come true. We make sure that our world confirms our expectations.

It’s a psychological game, it’s the kind of game referred to in that famous book Games People Play, where a hundred games are named and described.

Every game is basically dishonest and the outcome is always dramatic, rather than merely exciting. What seems on the surface to be dealing with factual issues is, in fact, motivated by something much more devious.

Games are played at two levels. There is the social level, where things appear to be open and honest. And there is the psychological level, where the motivation is covert. That’s where the dishonesty comes in. And the inevitable consequences are always negative feelings.

You are beginning to realise how dangerous these games can be - that they can seriously damage your health.

( About “I’m OK, you’re OK” life position )

It is very near to being the Humanist’s credo, a belief in oneself and others which does not require a belief in a god or the supernatural.

What I now realise is that you were always trying to get me to answer my own questions, getting me into the Adult.

  • So what’s someone like who has a high EQ (emotional intelligence) ?

  • In a nutshell, replied Heron, they have great self-awareness and know their own emotions. They can manage their own feelings and bounce back from sadness and misfortune. But perhaps most importantly, they can control their impulsiveness and delay gratification, so avoiding hasty and ill-considered decisions and actions.

bottom of page