What you should expect from a counselor…
I have been a counselor for many years. In my experience over those years, I hear many of my clients, particularly new clients, talk about their reasons for not going to therapy initially. Many of the reasons range from fear of judgment, time, money and lastly, they had been to counseling before and they did not believe that it helped. I want to address to my clients and future clients what you should expect from your counselor, and also where you should be in your mindset for counseling to be effective for you.
- A good counselor will not judge you.
A counselors job is not to judge you based on behaviors, choices etc. A counselors job is to identify a problem that is causing pain in your life. If a counselor discovers a problem that is causing pain, that is not judgment, that is discernment and assessment. The counselor does not add their own feelings, opinions or emotions into the problem. If someone went to the doctor and said ” I have a stomach ache” and the doctor identified the problem as drinking too many sodas, that is not a judgment, but an assessment based on information. If the doctor told you you were a bad person because you drank too much soda, that would be a judgment, which is unethical.
- A counselor will work with you where you are and then may challenge you to move out of your comfort zone.
When coming to counseling, you may not be able to recognize all the issues that are causing your trouble. This is either because one is either unaware of all the compounding issues or because they are not ready to delve into many painful issues. The counselors job is to assess and help with the problem that the client identifies. Once the client identifies the issue, the job of the counselor is to guide them into their own understanding of the problem and then to create solutions to that problem. As a Christian counselor, I use scripture and prayer to help individuals come to many conclusions about things they struggle with and then we work together about what the Bible says about that issue. This at times can be challenging and painful, but a good counselor wants to get you well and moving into a new life, not keeping you coming back for years on end of endless talking that goes no where.
- A good counselor will assess whether or not you are ready for change.
Many individuals suffer with many different issues, Anxiety, depression, grief, addictions etc. However, if a client comes to counseling and they are not ready to move forward and have the mindset that they are not ready for change, the counselor’s role is to help that person recognize the problems that this issue is causing in their life. If the client is still not ready for change, the counselor will determine if it is the right time for counseling or if some other higher level of care is needed. It is important that you should expect your counselor to help you and set goals for wellness, however, if there is no motivation toward change on the part of the patient, goals cannot be set.
What stands in the way of moving forward in the life that God has for you? True change can and will happen when we are really willing to move forward. And moving forward with a good counselor, one who is not your judge but your champion to help push you and move you toward your best self is the best kind of help. Allowing time, money or fear keep you from the life you deserve is just another way the enemy wants you to stay where you are. Jesus wants us to pick up our mats and walk and walk in the freedom He died to give us!