Interestingly, I did not go searching for counselling as my main career. I am still at the point of deciding if counselling found me or if I found counselling. It’s the same conundrum as to whether I am allergic to cats or cats are allergic to me. When I come to a conclusion, I will be sure to let you know.
Therapy became real to me and not just a fancy word when I finally tackled the loss and grief I had experienced as a child and which had greatly shaped my world view. I do agree with therapy being referred to as the “talking cure” due to the very fact that by being allowed to talk freely without judgment or reservations, I emerged stronger both psychologically and emotionally by the end of it all.
As I gradually learnt more about therapy, I moved from being shocked by Psychoanalysis to being challenged by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. At the end of my basic training and practical’s, I professed to being an “Eclectic Counsellor” as I saw there was potential in all theories to help a client live a fulfilling life. My experiences so far have led me on a path that agrees to the fact that many studies conclude that the quality of the therapist- client relationship is the most important driver of successful outcomes. Not the school of therapy. This to me means that I can’t give what I don’t have. Self-awareness on my part as a counsellor has a ripple effect on the clients who come my way. I have to put in the work as well.
What to charge, who to charge and who not to charge are never ending questions within therapy circles. It is no surprise that there hasn’t been a stipulated flat rate within the counselling fraternity even after therapy being a mainstream service for several years. What doesn’t augur well with me is that there are lots of practicing therapists who are in it for the money and sometimes cause irreversible harm to their clients and leave psychological scars for years on end. I purpose to be the change I wish to see, despite it being a cliché. Something has to give.
I am cautious about self-directed therapy apps as they may give the client a certain rush of motivation but they may transfer the responsibility of change and decision making to the application or soon tire of it and get back to their self-defeating habits. However, as Mohammed Hersi always quotes, “I choose to remain an optimist”.
Therapy is truly a marketplace icon when it comes to its everyday use in society. It’s true that people self pathologize themselves. What shocks me is hearing a child stating that they are depressed due to not having the latest gadget. This reveals the extent to which certain terms that were originally used by qualified practitioners have permeated into society partly thanks to society’s efforts in trying to Keep Up with the Kardashians while excitedly watching as crime, seduction and other previously shunned upon social ills are justified as self-expression or moving with the times. Truly, we have moved from what was once a restrictive culture to a society whose moral boundaries shift depending on the audience, for the customer is king.
All in all, the human mind hosts an insatiable beast known as curiousity. Therapy helps us dive into the known and unknown, therefore, serving up a palatable buffet that isn’t running out any time soon. Roll the dice, pick a seat and watch it unfold. After all, it pays to have a healthy curiousity about human nature. I know I do!