What is a Tune Up?

Spring pruning roses in the garden

A Tune Up session goes right to the heart of the presenting issue at hand, and draws on past tools that the client has learned.  Tune ups can often feel like “laser” sessions, as the client will already have formed a comfortable relationship with the counsellor, and the counsellor is attuned to her client.  It’s not about picking up where things were left at graduation (because when the client left, they were feeling pretty good!), but rather zeroing in on the issue at hand and diving in to eliminate the blocks to resolution standing in the way.

To prepare for a Tune-Up session, you may want to reflect on what choices you have made that have brought you to this predicament, and what you have already tried on your own to move yourself through it.  It is a good idea to bring this information in your journal to the session, and spend the first few minutes of the session sharing this with your counsellor to ensure you get the most out of your Tune-Up.

What is Attunement?

Good attunement begins at home, in that the original experience of attunement occurs between infants and their primary caregivers, but most importantly, their mothers.

In counselling, attunement is a trained skill in where the therapist is able to get in sync with her client.  The counsellor is not only empathetic, or connected from a feeling-space to their client, but it’s almost as if your counsellor can see the world through your eyes and inside your skin.  This posturing is not “an act”, rather it is the counsellor’s willingness to really experience her client deeply and not create internal barriers against joining the client in his or her pain and work together to find a way through it.

Another way to think about attunement is to imagine a tuning fork.  When the tuning fork rings, the musician is able to match the sound of their instrument to the vibration of the tuning fork.  Similarly, attunement in a counselling relationship happens when the counsellor is quickly able to match the responses, body posture, tone of voice, and physical/emotional/spiritual presence to the client’s in order to build trust.

This felt experience of trust brings a sense of familiarity and comfort to the client. Research has shown that clients who experience attunement feel more cared for and understood by their counsellors, and are often able to move through counselling more effortlessly and with deeper transformative experiences.