Question: I've been going to a counsellor to try and work out why my relationships don't last. I don't know anything about my counsellor's private life and yet I seem to have made the assumption that because she is a trained professional, she wouldn't have problems with her partner (if she has one). Do counsellors have better relationships than the rest of us? When I'm talking with her I imagine she must be thinking that I'm a hopeless case. Jason
Answer (1) It is perfectly natural for a client to make all sorts of assumptions about the therapist, in lieu of being given actual information about his or her private life. In fact, one of the main reasons for not disclosing this sort of thing, is to actually promote projections of the clients' phantasies onto the therapist. When these are verbalised or otherwise picked up, they are usually neither confirmed nor denied but used as a potent tool to uncover core beliefs and unravel difficulties. What we imagine others are thinking about us, is often what we believe about ourselves. Talk to her about this and see where it goes.
Answer provided by David White, Psychotherapist
Answer (2 ) Hello, Jason. It is not uncommon for a plumber's wife to complain that while her husband fixes every one else's plumbing, he is slow to fix a dripping tap at home. As strange as it may sound, our knowledge and skills are often applied only in the work domain. Once we leave the office, we tend to leave our tools behind, whether they be wrenches or counselling related tools. If you speculate that your counsellor has no problems because she is a counsellor, a not-quite-logical corollary might be, "I will always have problems because I am not a relationship counsellor".
I think most professionals would tell you that their lives have as many ups and downs as anyone else. Otherwise you would be talking to a species other than human. Ask your counsellor if you want to clear the air. But I think what really matters is how her skills and her humanity can assist you in making the changes you seek in your own life.
Answer provided by John Hunter, Counsellor
Back to Public Forum