I went to my dentist yesterday. As I sat in the chair I asked him if I'd be able to see a few clients after this procedure. He said that shouldn't be a problem. I laughed and said that maybe I could just sit there and nod my head and say, "mhhhm." He laughed and said I could just hold up a card that says, "How do you feel about that?" His nurse then chimed in and said, you could hold up a card that says "What do you think you should do to solve that problem?"
I smiled, but later reflected on this and thought to myself, is this what people think counseling is?
Yes feelings are important, but far more important is how we deal with them, how we process, or if we process and are able to integrate them.
And what is behind these feelings? What is the meaning we give to our experiences, to the events in our lives. What are the stories that we create, and how do they shape who we are, how we see others, and the world around us?
Counseling is the ability to create a safe/healing space where others can allow themselves to let down their defenses, if even for little while.
Counseling is learning how to listen.
Counseling is helping others unravel their story, gently untangling the threads they have tied and connected together to help them better understand themselves.
Counseling is giving people the permission to choose who they want to be, and then helping them see it's possible.
Counseling is sometimes educational, whether it's sharing communication skills, child rearing skills or stress management skills.
Counseling can be a drama. Counseling can be a safe place to explore parts of yourself you aren't ready to share with the world yet...until you are.