Posted by Stephanie Adams
on April 9, 2012 at 3:00 PM
We've recently had a great forum topic come up about how to leave emotions from work at work, and what to do when an issue with a client triggers something about your past.
First of all, I want you to remember: THAT'S NORMAL. We're human beings, we have feelings.
But when things like this happen, remember also WHO YOU ARE.
You are not the client.
- No matter what, their hurts are about their situation, not yours. It's easy to identify with our clients. But when we start absorbing their emotions, we lose the ability to fill them with something more positive.
- They are their own person. Trust them to have the personal power to heal themselves.
You are the counselor.
- You recognize that you see clients at their worst, and they also have many happy times in their lives you DON'T get to see. We have to let them have their downs without erasing their ups.
- You have the power. You can stop a downward spiral in session. You can tell them when they're heading an unhealthy direction.
You are not God.
- You're not here to fix them. Counseling is not fixing, or solving. It's helping the client through listening, education, emotional support, and feedback on their situation.
- They have their own power to choose good and bad. So don't take their choices as your burden.
You are not a robot.
- Take time REGULARLY to renew yourself. Take a day off. Read a book for fun. Talk to someone about your life. Turn off the computer and the telephone.
- It's okay to set boundaries. Refusing to set boundaries is really a kind of arrogance, because it says "I am so important that I need to be all things to all people." The world will still turn without you now and then.
Do you know who you are? Or are there some unhealthy ideas about who you are that you might need to get rid of in order to be a happy, healthy new counselor?