Exploring my inner self!


To be or not to be: That is the question!

It is my belief that it is essential to be connected to the client. However, as a counselor we are constantly trained to be neutral and to be unbiased when seeing clients. Contradictory! Right? In some cases it can be. However, I believe that it takes a certain level of passion and empathy to remain connected to your client. There are times that we will not be able to relate to our clients. However, it is important that as counselors we place ourselves into the shoes of the client to try to explore their problems from their vantage point.

Currently, I am counseling substance abuse patients and they already feel a divide between those individuals that have done drugs and ones that have not done drugs. I was actually just recently attacked by a client in my practicum because he claimed that I did not know anything about the streets and anything about addictions. In that instance, I could see how he saw a sense of self-righteousness in me. However, this is a trait that I work so hard to avoid. In order to do that, I continuously speak to the clients and let them know that any day we could be trading places. I think this is the key to making sure that you stay connected to the client. It is always possible for you to become the client and the client to become the counselor. Therefore, staying connected to my inner client is valuable and it keeps me humble in the profession and always checking myself to insure that I am not looking down on a client or forgetting that I could be the person being counseled are both essential tactics that I have figured out to help me as I begin to explore the counseling world.

We are the same!

I believe that there are a number of factors that we as human beings have in common. These factors include struggles, trials, tribulations, emotions, families, identities, etc. Therefore, I think that knowing these things keeps me leveled with my clients and helps me to avoid the “us” versus “them” mentality. For example, when working with substance abuse clients, I often say to them that everyone is addicted to something. When appropriate, I share my struggles with my addiction with them to let them know that we are similar and that we both may be struggling with some form of addiction. However, I don’t pretend that my addiction is as severe or as difficult as that of a substance abuse user. However, I believe it is a powerful tool to help the client feel at ease and to avoid being judgmental. I believe that no matter our struggles, we are all the same and have something to relate to!  


One thought on “Exploring my inner self!

  1. Hi Ayzha,
    I thought your post was very interesting and felt like I got to see a glimpse into how you practice as a counselor which was really neat! I think you are right when you discuss the balance of feeling empathy toward the client but also having to remain somewhat reserved as to keep your self healthy and to allow you to make the most successful treatment plan for that client.
    I was intrigued by your philosophy that you and the client could trade spots at any time. I had never thought about it like that, but I do think that would make it easier no matter the clientele to remember that no matter what everyone is human and should be treated as such. I have seen people lose sight of that sometimes, and that is the time when the relationship is no longer therapeutic. I like this theory and am thinking about incorporating this thought, though I do not think your client getting upset was due to you being “self righteous”. Just because you “don’t know the streets” or are not addicted to what they are does not mean you cannot be empathetic or cannot be crucial to their treatment. We as counselors cannot possibly experience everything every one of our clients experiences whether it is culturally, experiential, relational, etc. This idea that we must know everything about the person as if they were us is not possible and is too much to ask from anyone, but we can and do have the duty to try our best to see through our clients lens and be open to what they share with us.
    Loved hearing about your experiences in counseling. Thank you again for sharing

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