Counselling myth #3 – counsellors give advice
Generally speaking, we don’t. Given that someone’s come to me in distress and seeking support, it seems odd, perhaps, that I don’t tell them what to do that will make things better for them. The thing is that I don’t know what will make it better for them. My solution to the problem would be just that: MY solution. It would come from my heart and might be right for me. But it may well not be right for the person sitting with me. Only they can say what will make things better for them and they need to to work it out for themselves.
This is what clients do in counselling: work out what’s really happening, what’s really going wrong (which might not be what they originally thought it was) and then work out what they need to do differently in order to make things better for themselves. I know this is challenging – sometimes we want someone else to do it for us; to sort out the problem and make it go away. But we cannot grow as adults if we let someone else do what we need to do for ourselves.
Counsellors can’t know the answer to everyone else’s problems. What counsellors do know is how to provide a safe and encouraging place for people to explore the possibilities for themselves; how to listen attentively and respectfully and how to put myself in another’s place for a while.