Have you ever had someone approach you as an expert in something? Feels good, even if you demur the attribution. Occasionally someone makes such a comment to us counselors, “I heard you were the best counselor to deal with ____ and so that is why I am here.”
I’ve been counseling long enough to know that while I do know something about some problems, the person giving me this compliment on the first meeting is also signalling me something about their thinking. Generally, they are signalling that that want me to fix their problem. Not always but often they want my expertise to rub off on them with minimal effort of their own. Although that is a good thing to consider when finding the right surgeon and yes you want to avoid incompetent counselors, good counseling is mostly accomplished by the hard work of the counselee. So when you consider what counselor you might need, consider the following:
1. Is the counselor promoting themselves as expert? Be wary. Experience is good. Identity as expert may not be. Promoting oneself as a “nationally recognized speaker and counselor”? Run!
2. Is the counselor known to be a talker? One who hands out “the 5 secret steps to solve…” Stay away.
3. Is the counselor known for listening skills? Are they willing to learn? This might be your best shot. Well, it would also be good if they have heard of your problem before too…