Saturday, December 10, 2011

A training guide for the European counsellor : Guiding Principles

Previously you were promised a whole new world, a brave new world, the world of the european counsellor. You were teasingly introduced to the concept last month and here we are with another precious installment. This installment provides you with what is most crucial and critical. It provides a foundation from which you can build your practice upon. These guiding principles will underpin and inform your work. This is not reading for the faint of heart! Dear reader, prepare to be challenged, to be enlightened, to have the information wash over you, caress you and then lead you to it's private chambers. Prepare to be reborn. All the while, dear reader, never loose sight of the fact that your new self was only possible due to my humble self and K.P. (editor extraordinaire)!  Yes, all donations are gratefully accepted (cash only, no paper trails please)! Without further ado, without enforcing an ad break like some tacky television program, or even to leave you waiting till next blog post, like some tacky serial, let me waste no more time and get straight to the point. What is the point I hear you ask, yes tis seems an eternity since we last talked of why we are here. Alas, existential questions such as these must wait for their appropriate time, which is not today, for today we are here instead for another installment in the magnificent guide for the European counsellor. This frightfully sublime installment provides some guiding principles to help us as make sense of the mess that is other people’s lives.  Forget those pompous doctors with their ‘do no harm’ oath, because 'sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind!' Which should probably be guiding principle #1.  Read on for more:

‘You are right, you are the expert, that is why people come to you’.
Don’t forget that, because once you do, how can you help others? Don't lose sight of why you are there!

‘If you feel it, express it’.
The moment you put a filter between what you feel and what you say, you’re not being honest. Is that what you want? To lie to your client? They are paying for you! For your brilliant advice and for your honesty. They are paying for you not to bullshit them. The only people in life you lie to are; the tax man, the government, your partner, your family, your friends and anyone else you feel  it appropriate.

‘If the client isn’t listening to you, they are not learning, and if they are not learning, how can their situation change’.
The client has come to you because you are an expert. If the client knew how to fix their situation, why would they be there paying you? So less client chit-chat and them going over and over the mess they are in, and more focus on you and your brilliant advice. They can share their long winded woe-is-me stories with their friends, shop assistants or strangers in bars, you only have 50 minutes to change their life. Keep an eye on the clock and make it happen. 

‘Problem in, solution out’.
As a beginner, you should aim to solve each problem by the end of each session. Set a 'best time' and try to beat it. The more experienced you get, the more problems you can solve in each session. The truly gifted will square the client up as they walk through the door and tell them what their problem is before they have a chance to sit down or open their mouth. An example – “I can tell from looking at you that you don’t listen”. The next step would be to move straight into solution finding, which for the European counsellor means, dishing out your sage advice. Remember, the more advice you can dish out in a session, the more 'bang for their buck' the client is getting! Who doesn't love value for money?

‘If the advice didn’t work, It’s because the client has not followed it properly’.
You can lead a man to water but you can’t make him drink. If you hold his head under water long enough he will drown. Keep that in mind and remember that the law may view it as facilitated suicide. Speak to your lawyer in need.

‘If you think this is too hard, it probably is’.
There is no shame in walking away from a ‘too hard client’ or ‘situation’. Better to do it now than later, as chances are it will only have become a bigger problem. At the end of the day it is not your problem and you have to ask yourself, ‘do I need this right now’? Just think, you could instead be catching up with fellow alumni for high tea. Don’t forget to (constantly) think of yourself and what is best for you. After all, your clients need you to be at your best.


  1. Love it! Fav pearls of wisdom-

    “I can tell from looking at you that you don’t listen”

    "You can lead a man to water but you can’t make him drink. If you hold his head under water long enough he will drown."

    "Don’t forget to (constantly) think of yourself and what is best for you. After all, your clients need you to be at your best."

    When can I make my first booking Dr Schiavello?

  2. Dear Tomboy Bill,
    Currently my client load is full, but fear not, for it is only a matter of time before I have solved all of my current client's problems and will be able to take on new clients such as yourself. I can already tell just from your comments that you are a listener! I look forward to making your life better! Don't forget I am cash only!