Rumi's Poetry in Counselling
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The thirteen-century poet Rumi saw words as an extension of the mind, and used them with a view to that effect in his work. The present reflection is intended to explore Rumi's view on the role of language in determining mental state and human behaviour. In Rumi’s view, the mind essentially is not separable from language (Arasteh, 1965). This thesis reflects on applications of Rumi’s poetry and his view of language for purposes of emotional healing. The focus centres on its therapeutic effect in counselling sessions, reflecting on the question of whether Rumi’s poetry is benefitting as an orientation in holistic counselling and/or counselling in general. First, the theory and procedures associated with poetic identity will be discussed in relation to the effectiveness of using poetry in therapy sessions. Second, the reflection of using poetry in therapeutic settings will be presented. This paper explores the use and value of using poetry as a tool for facilitating therapeutic work. As examples, some of the ways poetry can support therapeutic rapport include: aiding initial engagement; facilitating emotional engagement and self-understanding; motivating change. Results from applications of Rumi's poetry to the therapy context demonstrate that the use of poems with clients constitutes a potentially rich and flexible therapeutic resource for counselors.