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Question
Posted by: Student | 2010/02/09

a good counsellor

Hi Doc, i am completing my degree in counselling. As part of our requirements towards a degree, we need to go for 8 counselling sessions. I went for my counselling sessions, but did not want to tell the counsellor everything that has been going on in my life. I am an extremely private person, and i dont like it if people knows waht is going on in my life. Not even my hubby knows and i am not an evil person that has something to hide, it is just the way i was brought up. She pushed and pushed for me to disclose and i said to her that i feel i have dealt with the problem (i had that time) and i got therapy, was on the prozac and today i can talk about it without crying. So,li have my peace about it, but somehow she felt i needed to revisit it. There were a few situations where she pushed me to talk about stuff that i was not comfortable with. When i didnt, she became a little " stiff"  and in our last session she said to me that i will never be a good counsellor, if i do not open up about what has been going on in my life. Personally, i do not agree with her. Is it really necessary to know absolutely everything about all our clients that we counsel? I dont think so, as long as the client makes sense of what is going on, is that not what counselling is all about? Anyway, just to add a little oil on the fire - she is my 3rd year lecturor vir 3 of the compulsory subjects that i take. How do i handle this professionaly? Do i really need to go and tell the world all that has happened to me?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I'd guess such a formal requirement of counselling sessions is to enable the student to experience counselling as a client. But it's inherently an artificial situation, as it's time-limited, required rather than arising from your independent decision, and because it presumably isn't focussed on any specific problem you want help for.
And in such time-limited counselling, one would not ( if using modern and proven methods such as CBT, focus heavily on deep revelations of childhood. It is old-fashioned and in fact lousy counselling technique to insist on digging back into painful areas of past experience out of a fanaical belief that this MUST be done.
ALl ggood counsellors have sad aspects of their life with which they cope - a capacity to reveal themselves is NOT a requirement for being a good counsellor. And, as someone who was a personal friend of great counsellors like Carl Rogers, I can say so with some authority.
When last did this somewhat arrogant and rigid teacher broadcast to the world all of her own concerns and private worries ?
IF they don't use and teach Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CBT, then they are using and teaching obsolete methods that don't stand up to proper scientific scrutiny.
However, if you are signed up for a degree course they control, you have to at least convincingly simulate what they demand.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2010/02/09

Your lecturer might be concerned that whatever happened to you will influence your ability to counsel a client with a similar problem. However I find it ridiculous that you are being pushed to disclose it to a lecturer since you have dealt with it in therapy already. Maybe tell her that you will explore this further in private therapy if you feel the need?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/02/09

I'd guess such a formal requirement of counselling sessions is to enable the student to experience counselling as a client. But it's inherently an artificial situation, as it's time-limited, required rather than arising from your independent decision, and because it presumably isn't focussed on any specific problem you want help for.
And in such time-limited counselling, one would not ( if using modern and proven methods such as CBT, focus heavily on deep revelations of childhood. It is old-fashioned and in fact lousy counselling technique to insist on digging back into painful areas of past experience out of a fanaical belief that this MUST be done.
ALl ggood counsellors have sad aspects of their life with which they cope - a capacity to reveal themselves is NOT a requirement for being a good counsellor. And, as someone who was a personal friend of great counsellors like Carl Rogers, I can say so with some authority.
When last did this somewhat arrogant and rigid teacher broadcast to the world all of her own concerns and private worries ?
IF they don't use and teach Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CBT, then they are using and teaching obsolete methods that don't stand up to proper scientific scrutiny.
However, if you are signed up for a degree course they control, you have to at least convincingly simulate what they demand.

Reply to cybershrink

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