The recent Netflix premiere of Blonde has stirred curiousness around the public persona of Marilyn Monroe and the woman behind that, Norma Jean Baker.

This well done, dramatised and insightful depiction of her life shows how Monroe rose to fame - becoming an icon and sex symbol while forging a successful Hollywood acting career. Monroe captured the eyes of the world yet, Norma Jean seemed to go unseen. The more limelight Marilyn got the greater the shadow became for Norma. This tragic story is a reminder of the importance of managing how our client’s persona shows up and that we facilitate their true self to be seen, to connect and have symbiotic love. To cultivate said bonds can require transparency and intimacy which comes with vulnerability. Their insurance strategy could be developing resilience (coping mechanisms), in an effort to be able to recover should some relationships not be lifelong. Also, taking time to connect (sit with feelings), know (start to feel a sense of self) and love themselves (accepting flaws and all) - which we could offer the core conditions, paraphrasing, summarising, and mirroring to obtain.

In the counselling room, we can help our clients to explore and re-shape their persona so that they start to have the self-awareness to only employ their persona when it benefits and doesn’t hinder them. A tool we could use is empty chair where they name their persona and name their true-self and allow those parts of their psyche to converse with each other in order to discover how they’re going to live harmoniously, i.e. who comes to the fore and when?

As clinicians, we can also encourage further steps on our clients (true) self-knowing and (whole) self-loving journey. This could include suggesting journaling in the interim between sessions, 10 minutes daily self-reflecting maybe offering the prompt: "who’s line was that?" and in sessions starting to hold up any core beliefs under the light for scrutiny in case they no longer serve them. An example of this could be thinking: "I’m not lovable," which Baker may have internalised, following her mother and later care givers abandoning her. The truth is she was always lovable and worthy of love just as our clients are. Rogers core conditions in our counselling room may be the only consistent unconditional love that our client has experienced, so it’s imperative that we always offer them. Parents not being able to love, nurture and care for their child in the way the child needs, is merely a reflection of their own deficits and not the child’s. All of our clients are born to be loved, belong and connect.

If you need support with challenging thoughts, feelings and beliefs that may be hindering you, don’t hesitate to book your free consultation - therapists deserve therapists too!