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When taboos come into play (“I don’t even wish to talk about that!”), it is a rather certain indication that the client is trying to keep something unconscious, of which he is not conscious. Taboo, here, means that something must not be talked about or even considered. At the same time, it is often a quick readiness to comment upon an external (“How could they?”) or internal outrage (“Ok, I’ll go there in a minute!”, “I am never going to talk to him again!”). The lack of tolerance to engage with something, even superficially, can be representative of a protective function regarding feelings which are triggered by the stimulus or subject, which is considered taboo.

Therefore, counsellors must not be intimidated by the subjects declared as taboo or interpret them too rapidly as functional boundary setting by the client (though it could, of course, also be that!). The art of counselling also consists of tactfully persevering with tricky subjects and finding out what the taboo triggers internally in the client.

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