If you put a group of adults in a room who aren’t very well acquainted one of the first questions they will ask each other is “what do you do?” For many people it’s an easy answer, they are salespeople, tradespeople, pilots or firemen. If you’re a counsellor the answer is slightly more complicated. Answering with “I listen to people” is a gross oversimplification and if you answer with a long winded scientific answer you sound pretentious.
Counsellors do listen, in a very precise manner with their attention focused completely on their patients. A cornerstone of the relationship between patient and counsellor is the counsellor’s ability to listen to what their patient says and the many things they don’t. Simply having someone to listen to you is profoundly therapeutic.
Listening is a skill
If you have ever attended a Vancouver counselling session then you understand how much listening played a part in making your session successful. Going to counselling can be painful. Part of a counsellor’s job is creating an environment where their patients feel safe and comfortable so they can explore their inner most thoughts and fears.
With their attention focused intensely on their clients, the issues that clients face become personal to the counsellor during their time together. Bombarding their clients with questions just makes the session counterproductive, instead a counsellor will offer responses that are reflective and will allow for deeper issues to rise to the surface. While they are doing this they must also reassure their patients that their job isn’t to make judgments about right and wrong.
Getting to the truth of the matter
Your counsellor is not there to pass moral judgments or assess your personal value, they are there to help you find the truth and find the things that are important to you. For most clients it is a relief to receive that attention without any personal judgement attached to it, while others will still find it uncomfortable to reveal your inner most thoughts or experiences lest they be judged for them.
It is your counsellor’s role to not only hear the words you are saying but to find the meaning behind them. You communicate more through your body language, posture and tonality than you do through the words you speak. Counsellors are very well versed on non-verbal forms of communication and this helps them help you get to the real source of the problem. This also helps counsellors build relationships with clients and set them at ease.
What does a therapist do?
They listen, they help you get to the truth of what may be holding you back or disrupting your life and they can be the should you cry on that won’t judge you. A therapist has many skills but at the end of the day what they do is help people.