You are thinking about getting a counselor because you want some tips on life. Tips, advice, opinions, should, must, etc, these are all no-no words in the counseling profession. We are actually trained NOT to give advice in session.

If you happen to find yourself in the presence of a therapist who lets you vent and then gives you his or her opinions on what you said, you are not in counseling. You are paying for friendship.

Counseling is a process that runs much deeper than tip or advice giving, or at least should. Diving deep is a skill that is finely honed after your therapist gets out of school and enters the workforce as a counselor in training. As they practice this skill many spouses and family members are driven nuts because going deep is not something that usually happens in every day conversation. It becomes a part of who a therapist is, in and out of the office, and is “practiced” on the nearest person at any given time in the beginning of a new therapists career.

Counseling conversations look very different than casual ones:

Casual Conversation:

             “My day was terrible!”

               “That sucks! Let’s have a glass of wine.”

Counseling conversation:

   “My day was terrible!”

               “Oh no, what was the worst part about it?”

               “Well, my boss said something that just ruined my day.”

               “What did you feel like what he said had to say about who you are?”

               “Well ….. I feel like he was saying I am an unproductive person…”

When you ask a trained therapist what their opinion is they will usually toss it right back into your court and have you answer your own question.

Good therapists want you to be able to count on yourself. They teach you to examine your own thoughts and perceptions. This will give you confidence and enable you to fly free rather than need to stay in counseling forever. We are always sad to see you go but we are happy to see you flourish. If we had an answer for all of your life questions you would become dependent on us and, besides, you are the expert on your own life!

So when does the counselor speak?

Your therapist will speak very intentionally. He or she will ask you thought provoking questions, reflect your feelings so you know you are being heard and will help you through trouble spots. All of this happens on a very deep level to help you heal and grow to reach your personal goals.

Now you know counseling is more than tips or advice. It is about examination, perception, past, present and future. It is a relationship like no other that is solely focused on you and where you have been and where you are going.

If you want tips talk to your besty, if you want change make an appointment!