Occasionally, I hear a well -intentioned comment that sounds something like, “Counseling? No! There’s no counselor who can fix this.”
While it saddens me to be reminded that so many people reject the professional help that is so readily available to them, I have to admit that I whole heartedly agree with those statements.
Counselors don’t actually fix anything.
One of the things my family and I like to do together is watch those gladiatorial competitions on TV where athletes from around the globe will compete for some ultimate title based on their physical agility, strength and prowess. When watching these, very often the production team will fill in program minutes by giving the viewers the backstory of the contestants. We will find ourselves transported to Italy, Siberia, or even West Virginia, where the cameras reveal the contestants in their home settings, training and living life.
One of my favorite parts about this part of the program is seeing the contestants’ trainers in the background. Often, the contestants will be doing incredible acts of athleticism while their coach is in the background giving direction and challenging them on some specific aspect of performance.
This is A LOT like counseling. Many of the individuals who come to counseling have the resiliency and strengths necessary to “compete” in their arena of life, but they need some sort of coach who can help give direction, encourage endurance, and challenge on aspects of performance in order to help that person achieve the best possible and most fulfilling results. That being said, just as it is not the coach doing the work to achieve victory at the end of a great competition, it is not the counselor who is doing the work to find healing and/or progress in therapy. The counselor does the work of enabling and focusing transformation, but the transformation is wholly in the hands of the individual applying the work through their own effort and endurance.
This points out two profound realities for me as a therapist (counselor). First, not every trainer fits with every athlete. There is a powerful alliance that is formed when the right duo teams up with the right goal for that competitor. Likewise, the right alliance needs to be formed by pairing the right therapist with the right person seeking help. And they need to discern the appropriate goals for that alliance. Only then can they achieve victory beyond what is possible alone.
Second, it is incredible to note how many “normal” people are champions over their specific challenges because the right alliance enables them to do what they never believed or thought possible. I am often amazed at the transformation that occurs when people begin to believe in themselves and utilize the tremendous resources they find within that therapeutic alliance.
Here at The Center For Human Development, we are proud to be able to be a part of that journey for so many champions. We look forward to seeing many more!