What a therapist isn't


14 Mar 2013 |  for trainees | by Bill, writer at UK & Ireland Counsellor Directory


If you use helping skills, or train as a therapist, it helps to remember that:

• You are not a sage
It is unwise to try to be wise. You are not there to give your clients words of wisdom.

In working with the client you can help them feel safe enough to explore and reflect in ways that put them in touch with their own wisdom.

• You are not an expert on the client
You are not expected to know the answers to the client’s problems, or know what would be best for them. There’s only one expert on the client in the room, and it’s not you.

In working with the client you can help them feel safe enough to explore and reflect in ways that help them come to an awareness of how they feel and what they need.

• You are not an advisor
Giving advice is not normally a counselling skill (except, perhaps, in more directive approaches such as those sometimes used in rehab). In general, though, you are not there to tell the client what to do.

In working with the client they can develop a sense of being genuinely understood and valued, so that they can start value their own judgement enough to trust that they know themselves what is best for them.

• You are not a clairvoyant
You cannot know how things will turn out in the future. If you say “I’m sure it will turn out all right” or “He’s never going to change” you are predicting the future, and may not be helping the client in the here-and-now.


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