QUESTION - My counsellor doesn't understand me but I think you would. All she does is sit there when I go and see her and she never gives me any advice on what I should do. Could I pay you for counselling sessions instead?
ANSWER - I'm afraid not and I'll explain why. Counselling and advice are very very different things. The role of the counsellor is to guide you to your own conclusions so the guiding force in your life becomes yourself. The way forward is only a valid one if it is something you have worked toward and decided upon yourself. This is why your counsellor says so little, she is helping you to form your own conclusions and input from her is largely redundant. What she will do is steer you toward asking the questions you need to ask in order to illuminate your own path forward.
Counselling is actually the very opposite of what I do. I give actual tangible advice. No counsellor will ever do that. I'm not helping people to reach their own conclusions, I'm telling them what I think they should do. As a counsellor what I do would actually be malpractice. However as I do it from an independent stance, am not affiliated with any professional bodies and always make it clear that people can choose to entirely ignore the advice they are given if they so wish, there is no issue. If I set myself up as a counsellor I would have to abide by the accepted conduct of counsellors and as I am unwilling to do that it is not a service I am ever going to provide.
Its also important to mention that your professional counsellor will have the correct qualifications. Same as in my daily profession (mortgage advising) I'd be annoyed if the cleaner started handing out mortgage advice to my customers equally I have no right to trespass on the province of trained counsellors. Quite simply I don't know how to guide you to your own conclusions and I'm not trained to do so. I could sit and tell you what I think you should do but that isn't counselling. And there's a reason I've never gone into counselling, I'm extremely dogmatic and very very certain that I am right. The temptation to impose my views onto others would be too much for me to resist. And that wouldn't be fair on my clients.
I firmly believe that there is a need for both counselling and for advice. Some of the questions I get on here are from people who have been badly let down by the health system. Some people are desperate and need a quick answer and others have problems too "alternative" for a bog standard fresh from University counsellor to get their heads around. I also think some of the "play safe" stock answers from modern psychoanalysts verge on the entirely useless. Some counsellors are so afraid of getting it wrong that they let people drift without working toward any tangible solution. I don't do that, I get right down to the bones of a problem and I tell you to get on with it. I also give a good deal more tough love than a counsellor would. If I think you are an idiot, I'll tell you so and I don't have a professional body waiting to discipline me if you complain about it.
So no, not my thing and it never will be. I occasionally take on longer term correspondences (which I don't tend to publish) but I never stray into the counselling territory. I can however make recommendations if you are looking for a Pagan/Witch counsellor.
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