In the naïve hope of funding his eagerly anticipated but increasingly remote retirement, Peter is investing his time in developing a new form of counselling drawing in equal measure on the insights of Eric Berne (transactional analysis) and Barbara Woodhouse (walkies). The heart of Inner Spaniel Therapy is very simple. By repeating a memorable mantra just three times, the patient is freed from whatever is troubling them. This treatment has been being trialled by selected individuals at the much reduced rate for Friends With Problems, where it proved impressively effective.
Whatever the situation, the patient is urged to say three times, aloud or in their head does not affect the outcome, “Embrace your inner spaniel.” It works best to change the emphasis each time, thusly.
EMBRACE your inner spaniel. Embrace YOUR inner spaniel. Embrace your inner SPANIEL.” *
As long as the declaration is made with emotion, conviction and faith, the results will be immediate. If the patient is troubled by anxiety or fear of any kind, he or she will have an immediate experience of the Peace of Dog which passes all understanding. If the person is uncertain what to do in a particular situation, their Inner Spaniel will guide them infallibly to the best course of action.
We are confident that identified predictable side effects, such as burying bones in the garden and chasing after cats, will wear off in a few weeks, or months, probably. Some patients do find themselves addicted to dog biscuits and we are working on a cure for that. A prolonged course of Sausage Sandwiches is looking very promising. Or cake, of course. Cake cures everything.
Sceptics have questioned whether there is any Biblical foundation for this approach to counselling. We obviously point to Matthew 5:3 and the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the paw in spirit” (NIV) or equally “Happy are those who know they are spiritually paw;” True blessing comes when we recognise our spiritual paw, that is our inner spaniel. This theme is developed in the Biblical Studies article, “Theology of the Paw”.
* We are running clinical trials at the moment on the six possibilities for the order in which the emphasis is placed in each of the repetitions of the phrase. Of course there is never any need to emphasise the word INNER because patients undergoing IST do not have the option of an OUTER spaniel which they could embrace. As will be obvious, if the patient did have an actual spaniel to cuddle, they obviously wouldn’t have their problems in the first place.