Our expert says:
They CAN, and of course technically they are allowed to, but it may not be wise for them to do so. On the one hand you may gain some useful wisdom through personally enduring and coping with some probllems, and indeed some clients reject the perfectly good advice of a friend or doc or counsellor specifically because " you haven't been through it yourself, so you can't know what I'm going through". I've sometimes had to point out that I don't have to have fallen over a cliff to be able to help someone who HAS done so.
But then you'd expect the counsellor would need to be basing their advice on what works, in their own experience. The reason we frown on a counsellor dealing too deliberately in problems they are grappling with themselves is the risk that they will use the patient's problems as a forum for working out their own issues, rather than those of the client ! They need to maintain a good degree of objectivity in order to be helpful.
Then there is also the issue that its common experience that we know what works and needs to be done, but the difficulty lies in actually doing it oneself --- so your counsellor may indeed know what to do, and you would benefit from following the advice, even if the counsellor himself or herself was finding it difficult to take their own advice.
And aren't there an awful lot of richly paid football coaches around, who can't actually themselves play football ?
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