Why Turnstone Counseling?

Why Turnstone Counseling?

As a couples counselor, I sometimes find myself falling into complicity with my clients. We make unspoken agreements to ignore patterns that are deeply ingrained in the marriage or partnership. My job is to encourage and assist in opening up all the windows and doors to see what is there but I can instead become part of the family eco-system that does not want to be disturbed!

The name of my business reminds me that the most important part of this job is exploration. A turnstone is a coastal bird who scavenges under rocks and logs, looking for discarded and unwanted items to digest. It’s the perfect metaphor for this work. In couples counseling, I help my clients look for the unloved bits and slowly learn to show each other the pieces of themselves that they’ve spent a lifetime hiding away. Robert Bly describes this as “The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us” (you can read more about that HERE). At times it is hard and dirty work. There is grit and mud and unpleasant surprises. There is also much to learn and to savor! There are treasures to be unearthed! So in my office we are all turnstones. We search out and find sustenance in the dark places.
A turnstone is also a funny little hopping bird that makes me laugh. . Ridiculous and earnest – my business name is a reminder to me to keep humor as part of my relationship with clients. Laughter brings us together, reminds us of our shared humanity and keeps us humble. When I admit my faults, poke fun at my mistakes, I am offering an invitation to my clients to do the same. It is hard keep the walls up when being silly. It is hard to speak reactively when smiling.


Brenda Fowler

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