What makes me effective?
What we think makes an effective counselor may evolve over time, but in the end it is the willingness to evolve itself that offers the most reward and sustainability throughout our careers. As counselors, we know that our growth is equally as important as the growth of our clients. And although we receive countless contributions along the way from teachers, mentors and peers, the gifts we receive from our clients offer us the most reward and the best opportunity to progress as counselors.
Hope is powerful
Marcie (custom name used), a young adult, started coming to therapy after developing debilitating anxiety that interfered with her ability to manage a new career as a dance instructor. Although she had worked hard and been on stage her entire life, she had begun to doubt herself after other dancers told her she did not deserve the coveted position. In addition to reviewing other sources of self-doubt during our counseling sessions, Marcie identified and practiced a set of beliefs that produced a very different emotional response for her. After several conversations, Marcie’s anxiety disappeared almost entirely as it became clear to her that she was indeed the best candidate for the job based on her experience. She repeatedly told herself, “I deserve to be here … no apologies.” Courage and support are powerful allies when it comes to growth.
Successful treatment lies in our ability to help clients identify and work toward their goals, while also learning the importance of awareness or intention as they move toward creating new habits. Effectiveness is also measured by our client’s ability to maintain flexibility and to tolerate painful feelings while moving toward beliefs and practices that create positive emotion. These therapeutic tasks, remembered through the acronym GIFT, can happen simultaneously and may indicate that treatment has been effective as well as when it may be nearing its end.