I've come to a conclusion. I would make a terrible counsellor.
I always believed, at least until recently, that I would make a great counsellor: I can see other people's point of view almost as clearly as my own, I worked through my own issues and reached a state of higher understanding about being me, I want to help other people improve their lot and I am a caring and empathic person. It turns out I may be deluded.
Behind the above facade lies a whole different person screaming to get out! This person says: get over yourself, pull your socks up and cope! This person prefers to speak than listen! This person judges others against her better judgement. OK, no not really.
I really do feel I understand how people work, better than many others do(hmmm maybe I am deluded). In fact I have no real hangups about how or what other people are. I just want everybody to be happy and successful! Oh and world peace wouldn't be a bad thing either!
So, where I fail really in the whole job requirements for counsellor story is here: I had an idyllic childhood, I belong to a stable and loving family, I was given a good education and guided through life's harder decisions by parents who knew enough to allow me autonomy, while at the same time making sure I was safe, I am now in a stable, happy marriage and have two children who are adored and provided with boundaries to help them become content and successful adults. OK, so I was a bit misunderstood as a teenager and also tended to misunderstand a lot about the world, but that is more normal than not!
So where are my experiences of things traumatic? How can I counsel someone who has been raped, since I have no idea what they are going through? How can I counsel alcoholics or drug addicts when I've not walked a mile in their shoes. How can I help someone who is having a nervous breakdown, if I've never felt the stress that they are feeling? How can I empathise with an abused woman who won't leave her husband, when I've never been beaten or abused? How can I? Not authentically.
I am not all out of ideas though. I have had some experiences, that other people have all the time. Some can cope with them and some can't. Those who can't can be shown how to do so and be taught what to expect and different ways to handle it. I am still thinking about it. It is already done. It should be. I'll think about it some more and blog about it when I am ready!
When I am qualified as a counsellor I will see if I have anything authentic to offer. Until then, I'll be a writer!
Mother of two
9 years ago