Zoë Plant, MEd, CCC
As I write this post, part of me worries about coming off as cheesy or sappy. Talking about counselling can sometimes feel that way for me. I think to myself, “Wow, I have found a career that not only challenges me, but lifts me up and fulfills my purpose and values. How lucky am I?”. The beauty is, even though there might be some cheesiness, the sentiment is true. Counselling fulfills me and aligns with my values and purpose. So, narrowing down my favourite thing about being a counsellor is tricky, but I think this sums it up: Walking alongside a client’s journey through healing. This is my favourite part.
As a counsellor, I have the privilege of accompanying different people as they look deeper into their experiences of being a human, reflect on their beliefs about the world and themselves, and understand their inner landscape in a new way. Clients are the ones doing the work, and I get to be by their side, providing them a safe, non-judgmental space to do so. While I accompany clients through their healing, I get to witness “aha” or “lightbulb” moments as they make connections in their lives and have deeper insight into their experiences. I get to witness clients as they take intentional time to reflect on their ways of being in the world. This is a truly rewarding and fulfilling experience.
And, above all, being alongside a client on their healing journey means I get to connect with another human being. I feel fulfilled and energized after a session when my client and I have a connection. Being privy to another person’s internal landscape also helps me with my own experiences of being human. It allows me to feel less alone. The connection in therapy between a counsellor and client can be fulfilling on both ends. Two humans connecting is a beautiful thing.
Accompanying people through their healing allows me to witness their internal growth and healing as they deepen their perspectives and understanding of themselves in the world. Being a counsellor not only challenges me and fosters my own internal growth, it gives me the opportunity of doing so with other human beings, of which I’m truly grateful.
Sebastian Wingfield, MA, CCC
Something that I often hear from people when they find out that I'm a counselling therapist is, "Really? That must be so hard to hear people's problems all day. I could never do that!" And I always struggle in my response to this, because, well, that's just not my experience. I think this idea that people have about counselling being so difficult comes from their assumption of what counselling is in the first place: Where the job of a counsellor is to hear about the awful horrible stories you have that no one else is interested in hearing. There are even some types of "therapy" that occur with this kind of dynamic--but it is often ineffective, pathologizing, and typically comes from the perspective of a power-over dynamic.
But, as an existential-humanistic therapist, I believe counselling is so much more than that. At it's core, it's about entering into a genuine, authentic relationship with someone else that contains elements of empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard; which then cultivates a space for a client to fully be who they are. Just like other relationships, it requires something of both the client and clinician; and it happens in a space of support and growth.
These types of conditions, established in a therapeutic context, enable for a particular form of emotional intimacy to occur. These raw moments, that can be filled with tears, laughter, and beauty, are my favorite part about being a therapist. I get the potential opportunity with each client that walks into my office to enter into that type of space. And I consider it to be an incredible honor.
...[counselling is] about entering into a genuine, authentic relationship with someone else that contains elements of empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard; which then cultivates a space for a client to fully be who they are.
When this is your understanding of what it means to be a counselling therapist, it kind of changes the tone, doesn't it?
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