Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Job requirements... Epic Fail?

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!


Anonymous said...

Jainy you make a good point but at the same time the whole point of your degree is to learn how to fix peoples problems and its not SUPPOSED to be personal. You don't have to feel what they feel just be there for them, listen and be the support that they never had! Its like saying, how can you become a Mom when you've never had kids before, look what you've achieved there!

Mom de Plume said...

hmm perhaps, but you could certainly never ADVISE a new mother if you had never had kids before!

Expat mum said...

My sister has just qualified as a child and adolescent psychotherpist. She said she felt almost guilty in some of her group training sessions because of her normal, stable chldhood, but that hasn't stopped her being very good at her job.
If you want to see a really good example of someone couseling another, check out my comment to "Howard" at my other blog, Pond Parleys. (http:/ Not a lot of tact there. Subtle as a fart in a space suit really.

Mom de Plume said...

Well, Expat Mum, he certainly deserved it. Narrow minded is a fitting term for him! Along with many other colourful words! That sort of holier than thou attitude really gets my blood boiling, especially when the person really has nothing of value to say!

I certainly think that I would become good at my job, and I am sure that many counsellors/psychologists have not suffered any traumas. I suppose I fear causing someone more grief because of what I don't know rather than helping them thanks to what I do! Experience is key, perhaps!

Mom de Plume said...
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