Why Did You Become a Counselor?
It’s a legitimate question to ask anyone: why are you working in the field in which you are? For some people, the answer is a simple, “This is what I’ve always wanted to do.” For others, though, the answer is more complicated. Some people just kind of fell into their current jobs, some wandered into them, some were even stuck with them. Sometimes we inherit our work, sometimes we’re on merely our latest incarnation of what we do. “Today, I am this, but for many years, I was that.”
It is certainly okay to ask your counselor why they chose their profession. Inevitably, you’ll get an aspect of “I always liked helping people,” along with some other details, of course. I have been told over the years that some people assume that we counselors went into counseling because we wanted to figure ourselves out, too. Let me hereby confirm that for you here and now: most of us were trying to work on some things about ourselves while simultaneously learning about others. As Dr. Paul Friday states in his Friday’s Laws, “No one has a squeaky clean psyche.”
Is that so bad? Your counselor, like you, is a flawed human being. By the time he or she is a licensed counselor, though, they’ve (hopefully!) come to understand their own peccadilloes, idiosyncrasies, unhealthy tendencies, behavior in relationships, etc. Most university counseling programs make us go through some form of our own counseling before we can call ourselves counselors. Like a novice tattoo artist who must first be willing to tattoo himself before he can be trusted to tattoo another, we counselors typically have our own counselors because (A) we know we have our own issues and (B) we believe in counseling.
Does it surprise you to hear that your counselor probably has seen a counselor? Why? Should your counselor be a super-high functioning, totally self-aware role model? Maybe some are. The vast majority are typical human beings who know how to help others; that’s about it. Your counselor isn’t perfect–just ask their spouses! That doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t be perfectly suited to help you.
Kings, queens, presidents, popes: they all have advisors. CEO’s, doctors, lawyers: they consult with their peers when they are uncertain about something. Surely you can, too.