"Think Positive"

In the first class I took towards a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling, the teacher spoke to us about how counselors should not give advice to clients because, amongst other reasons, it is not helpful. This was a statement that has been repeated many times during my education. Instead a counselor should attempt to see the world through the client’s eyes and use empathy to convey understanding. In giving advice, the counselor would be leading the client to think that the counselor is an expert who knows how to solve the client’s problems better than he does. Instead the client should be seen as someone who is an expert on his life who can solve his own problems with assistance. The counselor may help the client explore other options and possible consequences, but the client holds the ability and responsibility in making his own decisions.

Having chronic illness has given me many lessons concerning how it feels to be given advice. When I tell people I have frequent migraine attacks that prevent me from working, many people give well meaning advice about methods I might use to stop the migraine attacks. Many include possible treatments, supplements, et cetera. I appreciate these sorts of advice giving because although my doctors and I have tried a wide variety of treatments, I know there are many I do not know of that I can try. I am willing to try most anything.

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