Now I’ll Never Resolve Anything Again.

One of the problems with learning “Counseling Techniques” is that it takes away a good lot of the magic around counseling.

There are specific terms for nearly every response, every comment, every aspect of counseling. I am learning about appropriate times to use them and how to make them flow naturally. I know a good chunk of the techniques now and I will continue to learn more until the end of my 2nd year in the program.

The problem is that I can’t help but think that if I were sitting with a counselor who attempted to use one of those skills, I’d immediately reply, “OH! That was a GREAT use of X skill! Nice! Very natural sounding!” and “Ohhhhh, good use of X skill to make me look deeper at the problem! Sweeeeeeeet!”

I might even prompt the therapist with, “Y’know, now that I’ve mentioned X, it might be helpful if you asked me about Y and Z, no?”


Of course, I know that the whole point behind learning these particular skills is to help me make sure I’m covering everything that needs to be covered with a client – remembering to discuss the presenting problem isn’t hard, but remembering to ask other important questions can sometimes be forgotten “in the moment”. It’s also about making people feel comfortable in a situation that, for many, is particularly uncomfortable.

I know, too, that once you’re in a counseling session as the worker, it’s not about a mental checklist – it’s about the flow of things and trying to get a really big picture of the client’s perspectives. The mental checklist only comes in to play when the worker is ‘stuck’ (or new at all of this) and needs to move things along appropriately.

But I am pretty sure I will never be able to seek therapy for myself again. At least, not without being that therapist’s worst client EVER.


  1. Sylvain says:

    Using letters (X,Y,Z) in your example caused me to picture Sesame Street Characters in therapy.

  2. michelle says:

    the up side is that now you can practice your counselling techniques on ME, lol. i have *issues*, woman!

    • violet says:

      I’d totally be willing to try it – as long as you know that I’m only about 1/3 of the way through my counseling techniques learning and may get halfway into the whole thing and suddenly say, “Y’know, I have NO IDEA where to go from here. Can you and I get together again in, say, six months when I’ve learned the next few steps?” :)

      • Kitty says:

        I’d be game. Can you help me with the after effects of having a huge crush on a serial killer? I’m having nightmares and crazy ass fears.

        I’m not kidding, sadly.

  3. Kelly says:

    Oh, I know what you mean. I read a book once with counseling anecdotes in which I learned the term “the old number three,” which was something like hmmming and nodding, often combined with writing on the pad. Ever after that, I couldn’t help noticing it every time I conversed with anyone in the field, whether I was receiving counseling from them at that moment or not! I didn’t blurt out loud, “There’s the old number three!” But I sure thought it.

  4. R. says:

    Education pretty much eliminated all appreciation I had for music. I still have a problem just listening to a piece without taking it apart.

    You have my tangential empathy.

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