July 3, 2013
July 3, 2013
What is Counseling?
I have written before as to what to expect from counseling, but I did not address this issue.
When people come in with a problem, they are usually venting. Not much progress is made other than to help calm them down. The problem that they present is not addressed-merely viewed.
Lately many of my clients seem to believe that the purpose of counseling is to let off steam, then, they leave without making another appointment. Or if they do come in again, it is just a repeat performance of emotions with no movement towards correction.
The client who views counseling for the purpose of venting may feel satisfied, but in my opinion they are just wasting their money.
The purpose of counseling is to identify the issues, determine the cause of the issues, then learn the skills to maintain the correction.
Much of counseling that I do is teaching information and skills that will benefit the party (ies) to live more harmoniously in relationships and with the world.
Once there is an overview of all the problems, then each issue must be discussed in segments and each segment resolved in some manner; one complaint at a time.
I can not emphasise this enough. ONE complaint at a time! Settle it. Then move on to the next complaint.
Do not be wishy washy about your issues. If you will not or can not tolerate certain actions and will not or can not compromise on an issue, then make that clear and accept the consequences it will bring (i.e. possible loss of the relationship).
Work on your priorities of what you want. If the differences are so vast that there can not be a compromise, decide whether it is possible to agree to disagree on the issue.
There are times when one person is more invested in the relationship which automatically allots more power to the other partner.
Occasionally, the complainant will ask why I am expecting his/her to change. It is because: I can not make the lacklustre person interested, when it is obvious the apathetic person will not participate until there is a motivational reason. Therefore I have to work with what I can help to improve and often that begins a resolution to the entire process.
Individuals who decide that they can counsel the process better than I, have already shown that it does not work for them by the fact that they have sought a counselor out. Allow the counselor to make the decisions. I have been doing this since 1978.
I have had great successes when the clients trust me to help them. After all is that not why I am sought out?
Those clients who attend with a preconceived goal, may be dissatisfied because that goal is not instantaneously delivered. The client does not recognize that his/her requests are being addressed because one or two sessions seldom completely resolves issues that often are decades old.
Most importantly; there is no way to quickly resolve situations without being forthright about the dynamics of relationships. If the expectation is that the counselor should agree with all participating parties, then their expectation is a fantasy and will never be resolved.