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Mossy Cairn Meaning

The name Mossy Cairn is my metaphor for the relationship between what it is to be human and the process of counselling as a deeply personal journey. It also represents an important link for me between people and nature.


Moss is an ancient species of plant, which like humans, is extremely diverse. Like people, moss is remarkable in its ability to survive and thrive in the right conditions and has adapted to grow in different environments. When moss is happy, it soaks up moisture and provides humidity, which helps the plants around it to flourish. When people experience the right conditions, we too have the ability to thrive and positively influence those around us. Moss also has fragility. Japanese gardeners know that to grow moss they need to provide the right environmental conditions, lots of care, and maintenance. People also need care and support, both from ourselves and others, throughout our lives. Counselling can help us to understand, articulate, and value the conditions we need as individuals, and support us when we are experiencing emotional distress, personal challenges, or want to change something to be our best and thrive.

Stone Steps _ Moss
Moss Cairn.jpg


Cairns are made from stacks of rocks and stones (like the one in the picture). They can have different meanings around the world, although they are often used as route-markers on trails and to mark the summit of hills. During the process of counselling, which can be likened to a journey, we can think about ourselves as experiencing different markers along the way (which could be personal insights or strategies to help us with the challenges we are facing) towards the ‘summit of the hill’, which represents our goals for therapy. In Scotland, there is a tradition of carrying a stone from the bottom of a hill and placing it on a cairn at its top. This helps to preserve the integrity of the cairn, which could also represent ourselves. Through counselling, we can discover and carry the metaphorical “rocks” we need to give us strength and resilience.

In counselling sessions, this imagery of moss living on a cairn represents you experiencing the right conditions from me (such as being listened to and feeling valued and understood) and your journey towards your therapy goals, although sometimes part of the journey can involve finding out where the destination is (what your therapy goals are) and which direction to move in.

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