This week I started to reflect again on the goals of counseling. Sometimes people I work with have anxiety about what they will be like after counseling is over. Will they still be themselves? How will their relationship with others change? How will we know counseling is over? Will they be working with me forever?
One of the things I love most about my job is the ideals and ethics my training is grounded in. First among these ideals, is the idea that the counseling relationship is driven entirely by the client’s needs and desires. This means the people I work with are in the driver’s seat, and I’m offering new ideas, skills, and strategies to get them where they want to go. There is no magic “normal” that I’m trying to manipulate them into – the problem and the solution is ultimately decided by my client, my partner in healing.
This partnership with the client taking the lead is exactly as it should be. I am extremely educated and skilled, but that doesn’t mean I know what’s best for you in your life. The minute I start to believe I have all the answers is the same minute I could cross ethical boundaries and do harm to my partner instead of helping.
To answer some of the questions posed at the beginning of the blog: Yes, you will still be yourself. Nothing about you is intrinsically wrong, just some parts aren’t working anymore. Your relationship with others in your life may change, depending on what you decide is necessary. Counseling will be over when you are satisfied with the progress you’ve made and you won’t be working with me forever. I do recommend at least semi-annual check-ups though, just to be sure you maintain the progress we made together.
So hopefully that helps with any anxiety you have. I look forward to partnering with you to improve your conscious control over your happiness and well-being.