- They’ve often dealt (and may still deal) with the same problems you do. Many times, therapists are interested in helping people overcome certain problems because they’ve had to deal with similar issues. Something that makes a therapist stand out can be the fact that they know what it’s like to be in their clients’ shoes. It can feel reassuring to know your therapist understands where you’re coming from. If a counselor is worth their salt, they’ll be aware of their own issues and have done their own healing so that counseling is about you and not a therapy session for your counselor.
- Meeting a counselor for the first time is like a blind date–ah, the butterflies–and sometimes we get nervous, too! Imagine how nervous you might get about meeting new people. You’re not the only one. We want you to feel like we’re helpful and we want to help, which can trigger some performance anxiety. One way we’ve learned to get over the butterflies is practice and being able to separate some of that performance anxiety from the task at hand (which is to focus on you!).
- They don’t have all the answers and can’t mind read. Sorry to break it to you, but we’re human too (refer back to number one). Even if we knew everything, it still wouldn’t be up to us to give you all the answers. Part of the gratification in therapy comes from figuring out things on your own (with some assistance). One of my favorite quotes about this is, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” If you’re not ready (consciously or unconsciously) for new information/ideas/problem solving, the answers aren’t going to register. Therapy can be helpful for opening your ears, so to speak…not for cramming in all the “right” tips and tricks.
It’s like a People Magazine article: “Counselors, They’re Just Like Us!”
We’re all human–and being human can be hard! What makes therapists different is being able to step back, use their specific training, and help folks work through the stuck, nitty gritty of life. And it’s no secret how good it feels to get unstuck.