The problem with counseling is …?  Sounds a little strange for a professional counselor to say that there is a problem with counseling doesn’t it? What’s worse, I’ve actually gone on record as saying that probably most people need to go to a counselor. 

So what’s the problem? Say-What

Imagine with me a man or a woman, going to counseling. He nervously sit down in the seat, a comfortable couch or chair. She nervously clutches one of the pillows. Maybe he is there because he has a compulsive behavior. Maybe she is there with her spouse for marital counseling.  He meets the counselor and likes him or her. She finds the counselor to be nice.

Then he begins to explain the problem or problems to the counselor.  In the couples counseling situation, most likely she is going to explain that it is really her husband’s fault that they have had to come to counseling in the first place. In almost every situation, he is going to explain that while he has his issues, the real problem lies in “that” situation, or with “that” person.  He wants to change, but once this thing, person or situation changes then he will be able to be the person that he should be. Once that happens, she will be able to change. If only her husband, his ex-wife, her children, his father would just be the person that they are supposed to be, then the client will be happy and emotionally healthy. Then she will be able to make the choice to change.

Then the counselor says something and there is a slight itching at the back of his throat. Her blood pressure starts to go up.  The counselor keeps talking and the anger starts to rear up.

Obviously, the counselor is not that well trained and did not get a very good education. Her ears must be plugged, or she’s just a terrible listener. So the client tries again to explain that while he really does need to make a few changes what really needs to happen is:

  • His boss needs to change
  • Her husband needs to be a better husband
  • His parent needs to apologize
  • Her abuser needs to find justice
  • His kids need to grow up
  • She just needs to find a job
  • He just needs to get out of debt

The problem starts right back up again when the counselor begins to talk for the second time.  How in the world can a counselor be this dense. Then it hit him. It isn’t just the counselor. It’s the whole stinking process!

There is a problem with counseling. A great big, fat, huge, kick you in the teeth kind of problem.

Counseling is predicated upon the idea that you are in control of you. Good counseling will ask you to make changes in your own life because that is the only life you control. A good counselor won’t let you ramble about your wife, or husband or wayward child for too long because ultimately, change comes from you. It’s not that those things don’t matter because they do but ultimately what really matters is what you are going to do with the path in front of you, not that one you’ve already walked.

Back to our fictitious client, it hits him when the counselor begins to constantly press for this change. Change is scary. She’s had her entire life to do it this way. He’s always done it this way and now some  counselor is asking him to do it a new way. Of course, the way she’s always done it has led her to where she is and by her own admittance, she doesn’t like that place.

Insanity is doing the same thing but expecting different results.             

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