Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good Counselor? Or Great Counselor?


“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.”

― Alexandra K.Trenfor

Good counselors have good things to say.
Great counselors ask great questions.

I've been working on becoming a better counselor, even though I'm not currently working as a counselor - neither school nor clinical. I am working as a counselor educator. I never thought I'd be in this position. I pictured myself being a school counselor for 30 years, retiring in my 60s and then maybe starting/joining a small private practice.

Obviously that didn't work out. Last year I applied for a doctoral program, but after the full day of interviews (I was glad to be invited to the interviews) I realized there is no way I can physically endure the rigors of an intense doctoral program. Studying full time, teaching classes, researching - my body doesn't have the energy or endurance to manage that kind of schedule.

Despite all that, I find myself working as an adjunct counselor educator. I love it and I think I'm pretty good at it. I seem to be getting positive feedback and I feel like I have important things to offer. I was sure I'd have things to offer future school counselors because of my school counseling background. I've been surprised by how much input I have on clinical issues - pleasantly surprised.

There is one aspect that has not surprised me, one that I was looking forward to. I have learned so much from the interns and practicum students I work with. They are a great group of future counselors. Not only will they serve their sites well, they will serve their profession well. I feel so blessed to benefit from their perspectives. They push me to learn new information and to examine my own beliefs, my own philosophy of counseling. That's been a great exercise for me.

I'm still working on asking better questions. That's a more difficult skill to develop than it sounds. Ask good questions? Just do it then. But it's hard, especially as a counselor, to find the right question, the right way to ask it, and the right time to ask it. I think that pursuit will be life-long for me. Maybe by the time I die I'll be known for my questions.