Why see a Counsellor or Therapist? Why would someone go to the expense, time and commitment to train as a counsellor/therapist if it were easy to guide someone through the process of change?
In 1989, it cost me about £10,000 to train as a counsellor. I studied for a Diploma in Higher Education which involved extensive group work and I also took a Diploma in Counselling, For the Diploma in Counselling, I understudied with an experienced therapist for almost two years and I read about forty books during that time as well as writing a dissertation and keeping a personal journal over the duration. Now, if I see a client with a major problem, such as self-harming or feelings of suicide, I pay to see a supervisor, which can be extremely costly. I have insurance and maintain a comfortable venue to see clients, all this costs money and that is why it is necessary for me to charge for my time.
The reason I trained as a counsellor was so that I could give people the very best attention that is possible, not just saying what comes to mind at the time but using methods and techniques that have been properly researched and are effective and safe. I would want this for myself and my loved ones, so why not give others the best too? Yes, I can empathise as I know what it means to be distraught, worried, depressed, exhausted and frustrated, but I must not be restimulated when my client tells me about over whelming or painful times, for this person is different to me, and though I can empathise, I must remain separate and be able to think clearly. If I get confused over what is me and what is them, I am involved in an over-identification, which confuses the process, they are seeking counselling not me. The client must know they can lean on me because I am strong and though I can understand, I can still bear the weight of their troubles.
Such matters are called by various names, such as projections, transferences, and so on, which we learn about during the course of study. Take for instance a client with a messy relationship; husband and wife are arguing and cannot reach a compromise. An untrained counsellor might say to the wife, “You should leave him!” However, this might mean a protracted house sale, children moving home and school, and might not be the best or desired course of action, but was only suggested because the counsellor was thinking about her own issues. A trained counsellor would help the client to reach their own conclusions by way of insight and greater understanding, exploring all avenues and not jumping to conclusions.
Many people seek assistance from people who are not qualified counsellors, sometimes paying them as much as they would to see a qualified person. If you feel you are struggling with emotional conflicts, relationship problems or addictions, avoid discussing them with your next door neighbour or internet chat lines as what people can say can be hurtful, stupid, misleading or destructive. Seek out someone who is qualified to guide you through the process of recovery through tried and tested means.
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