What is your aim for counselling?

As a client, what do you want out of it? As a counsellor, why do you do it?

I’d called an ‘emergency’ supervision session because I was still reeling from two of the counselling sessions I’d had the day before: one in my private practice and the other in a charity where I volunteer.  I’d shared the different but intense impact both meetings were having on me.

My supervisor’s response was: What’s your aim for counselling?

Because the question came after I’d spoken about my work through the charity, I (naturally!) went about explaining the charity’s aims, vision and mission.

His response was: I wasn’t asking about the charity’s aims. I was asking about yours.

Food for thought…

Thinking about it...

Thinking about my aim…

Hmmm…  I had to pause to think about that.  Consequently, I decided to take it away to chew on.  For, although intuitively I knew what my aim for counselling was and had even shared as much with a restless colleague a few hours prior, I hadn’t been explicitly articulating it to myself… I hadn’t been translating it effectively from my heart to my head…

As far as my aim for my counselling work was concerned, I hadn’t been making the unconscious conscious; I hadn’t been doing enough to connect with my inner raison d’etre, a connection which will help me walk in more certainty, develop more resilience and so be able to help more people…

(See here my article published in the Counselling Directory on Why do you do what you do?)

As I thought about it further, it hit me that many times when we get stuck and frustrated in this journey of life, it is because of a lack of clarity, a lack of assurance, especially around our ‘why?’.  Sometimes, this confusion, this uncertainty is around why what we do matter.

However, it becomes more poignant when we cannot be sure about why who we are matter, or, if we matter at all.

What we do tends to somehow get linked with our sense of identity –  who we are. So, can you see how easy being unclear about our aims can lead us into a spiraling hole of yuckiness?

I know from my personal life experiences how feeling stuck can feed into feeling yuck and the vicious cycle that can ensue. I have no intention of getting stuck and frustrated in my counselling work, so I thought I’d take the time to consciously discover and clearly articulate my aim(s) for counselling.  Hopefully, this might encourage you to seek clarity regarding why you do what you do, whatever that might be.  And if your work ties into your sense of identity and significance, then all the more reason to get exploring!

Here’s what I’ve found: 

clarity comes...

clarity comes…

I’ve discovered that I have just one aim for my counselling work.

This is: to offer my clients an opportunity to have some of their fundamental human needs met.

These basic human needs are:

  • To feel heard and understood
  • To feel seen and noticed
  • To feel held and connected

I need to remember my ‘why?’ when the going gets rough, to step into my courage when it gets tough and choose to walk in the integrity of my calling with a clear understanding and bold acceptance of my purpose. Daily.

A more detailed look at these fundamental human needs will be explored in a future article.

For now, it’s over to you:

Why do you do what you do?

As a (potential) client, what is your aim for counselling?