As a counsellor trained in the humanistic approaches, one thing that I have trouble with is containing the conversation. It often takes me most of the session to get the client to finally stop talking about themselves and to focus on me! I really want to get to that point much quicker in my sessions so that my client has more time to sit and listen to this wise bard (yes, me again). When I say that clients can learn so much from me, I am not just humbly stating the obvious. My life experience has led me to a place where I am generously able to offer the most excellent of advice. So I recently set off looking for books, training or whatever I could find to help me get out of the humanistic rut I was in.
After much searching I was flabbergasted to discover the lack of assistance for counsellors such as I, who need help in making the focus of the session ‘me’ and my brilliance. Most of the books I found were all ‘client focused’. These books were so Western and so polite, they made me throw my arms up in disgust and make some random unintelligible noise beginning with ‘Phugh!”. These guides all lacked passion and life. Are counsellors expected to be blank faced emotionless robots who summarise, repeat phrases and rattle off generic phrases like …’how do you feel about that’, ‘what are you feeling right now’, ‘tell me more’ etc. Where is the gusto and fiery emotion of the European? It’s about time someone put together a few pointers for the European styled counsellor. Yes, the counsellor who is not afraid to say it like it is, who won’t take crap and whose motto is ‘If you ain’t gonna take my advice, then don’t waste my time!’ By George, I am feeling inspired just rereading those few lines that I, myself have typed! As no one is able to pull themselves away from ‘actively listening’ to their clients for long enough to assist us, the us who need more than the lifeless humanistic approaches offer, then it seems left up to self-inspiring I to bravely lead the way and re-write the bible (so to speak)!
Yes, I will kindly write a guide for you and for all the budding ‘European counsellors' everywhere who may need some guidance on how to bring honest emotion, good advice, truth (which does sometimes hurt, but remember, it is for your own good), passion and engagement back into the counselling session! I am also excited to now present the only factual thing you'll come across in this guide, which is:
Actual studies show that it is not the style or the model of counselling that matters as such, it’s the quality of the counsellor-client relationship!
Everyone knows that Europeans are the experts on relationships! Whether these relationships last or if there will be faithfulness in them, I cannot say (in fact I don't think there is a word in European for 'fidelity', but don't quote me on that!). Do stay tuned for haphazardly presented snippets, tricks and tips that will bring out the medallion wearing, mono-browed European within. Throw the word ‘counsellor’ in, grab a coffee, some cannoli and congratulations! you are now officially a European Counsellor!
Now go out there and change some lives!