Saturday, September 22, 2012


 Oh yes you know...those things that we don't like to admit that we have....faults. Most of us go through our days totally unaware of our own faults and how they affect our lives and the people in our lives. I am no exception. I am beginning to think that a large point in going through a Masters in Counseling is to become aware, begin to work on, and change that fact...denial of our shortcomings.

So this is going to be a short post as I am pondering.....what my own faults are? How can I change them? Do I want to change them?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I admit it I love quotes. I love how most often such smalls words placed together can really say something to me. So today I am going to post some quotes I have seen most recently that have said something to me. 

Expectation is the root of all heartache - Shakespeare

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have : but rather comes as the result of recognizing and appreciating what we do - Keonig.

I am not telling you it is going to be easy: I am telling you it is going to be worth it--unknown.

And my favorite as of lately that I fully intend to hang on my office as a counselor........

All images are from

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Holding my thoughts

As I responded to an assignment in one of my courses I found myself holding my thoughts instead of putting them down as asked. Holding because the nature of my thoughts most likely would have offended someone within my class. This got me thinking.

Do clients withhold thoughts because of the same thing? Do our clients not feel free to speak their minds for fear of judgment by us or those around them even if we have established (or think we have) a atmosphere of acceptance? Here I was sitting within a course full of those who have proclaimed acceptance (although some more than others) and I couldn't open up and be honest for fear of being offensive or taken out of context.

 Is this the experience for clients? If so as counselors/therapists how can we work to change this or at least make our clients aware that we are aware?

Image from

Should we push clients?

In a class of mine the subject came up this week about allowing clients time for their self admission of history and possible issues. This got me thinking. If we allow our clients to dictate the flow of counseling is this helpful or harmful? Now you might be sitting here thinking of course clients should dictate when and how they admit and discuss but stop for a moment and consider. If clients are allowed to go at their own rate without being "pushed" by the counselor would we really get anywhere? By this I mean if clients are never pushed by the counselor or made to feel a slight discomfort will the counseling process really go anywhere? Will clients see goals met? Grow? Change?

I don't advocate the choke and puke method (thanks Don B for that term over summer intensives) where clients are held in a head lock with you sticking your finger down their throat so they "puke up" their deepest darkest inner workings at every session however I do believe clients need to be pushed. They need to pushed beyond their comfort level a little more each session because this discomfort to me is what creates change and is really getting down to business. If clients want someone to continue to allow them to hold back and stay in their comfort zone they don't need a therapist for that, they need a buddy who will sit and listen and say oh man that sucks without requiring any action on their part on how to change it. Sorry but that will not be me as a counselor nor do I want it to be.

I hope to allow my clients to talk but I also hope to give my clients the skills for action. Actions that will change their lives and I am not sure I can accomplish that without pushing. Of course there needs to be a healthy balance and as counselors we have to know when to push and when to back off and allow the process to just flow that goes without saying I believe. But we have to be willing to PUSH when needed and I think that is harder for counselors to learn to do. 

Is there a place and pace for self admission? Of course there is. We must first work to establish the counseling relationship and trust between client/counselor before we begin to push the client to move out of their comfort zone but in my opinion we must push to see real and long lasting change for the client.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Control In Therapy

As you may or may not remember I am still semi in the process of deciding my theoretical orientation for counseling. I am 99% sure that I am going to be a Gestalt/Reality therapist with a little solution focused, cognitive and existentialism and Adlerian thrown in my mix as needed when clients deem it appropriate.  I have been reading a book called Life Techniques in Gestalt Therapy. I just started it a few days ago and I came to a section about control in therapy that got me thinking about control in the therapeutic relationship and how it works/doesn't work.

If we stop for a moment and consider the very nature of the relationship between a therapist and their client we will see the "control" although I am not sure I like to call it that. A counselor in essence must be in control and the client must be willing to allow the counselor to be. I do not mean control in the typical sense but a client must believe the counselor knows what they are doing and has to believe that the suggestions and advice given will lead towards the clients self professed goals. So by control this is what I mean.

This might come as a shock but I never looked at it this way until I read this chapter. Never. Not once did I consider the counselor having the need to control the counseling relationship and until I read this chapter I most likely would have said the client should be in control. Now I am not so sure about that. So this chapter has me considering how control will play into the counseling relationships I form with my clients...interesting.