"The therapist is not just an observer of the client's emotional journey or even a disinterested guide, but a fellow traveler, resonating with the client's sadness, anger, and anxiety."
-Psychotherapy Networker, pg 26 (March/April 2011)
I found this quote last weekend as I was going through the Psychotherapy Networker Magazine, and felt that it resonated with what we were taught in grad school. Of course there are some counselors that behave as if they were the disinterested guide, and I think that's unfortunate. If you've had an experience with a counselor like that, I'm sorry. Don't give up on counseling just because you've had one poor experience.
When I first started going to counseling (many years before I myself became a counselor), I often wondered what was going on in the mind of my counselor: what did they think their role was, how did they perceive me, and what their experience was with me? Now that I'm a counselor, I feel like I have a little insight into what they may have been thinking.
I like the idea that I am a fellow traveler on a journey with the Client. I'm acutely aware and humbled every morning that I walk in my office at the immense responsibility that I have. I'm a witness to a great amount of pain, grief, struggle, joy, and success as my clients fight towards healing and health. I love my job, and I love getting to be a fellow traveler on so many clients' journeys. I love being challenged by my clients, and I love that my life changes because of their story. I feel blessed, and I feel humbled, to hear so many peoples' stories, to be trusted with their emotions, and to travel along with them.
Do you ever wonder what your counselor is thinking as you're talking? If you could change one thing about your counselor (past or present) what would it be? If you've never gone to a counselor before, what might you like to see from your counselor?