Why do counsellors not give advice? : See sometimes a therapist won't answer questions what do you think about it?
Can I ask you a question? I know if you're willing to answer it. Have you ever been in a therapy session where the therapist did not answer your question?
Yeah I have, I remember I was at uni and I was having CBT I remember I asked her what do you think I should do about this and she says well what do you think I said yeah I am not asking you just yeah but but what do you think James I said I'm asking your advice she said what do you think? And it really I asked that many times I really pushed it.
And how did you feel?
Nothing actually I didn't feel anything I just I was just like I wonder why she does that it sounds like even back then I was just thinking must be a therapy thing right you must they must not be able to give their advice you know I didn't really know why I didn't really feel annoyed about it I was just like I wonder why they do that?
Okay I'll answer your questions about therapists not answering questions but just one thing about advice that really pretty much all therapists will never offer any advice about anything that’s one of the things I mean sometimes being come to me they say I have come here because its a better idea. I am sure I will find your advice very helpful this kind of a thing incidentally I don’t jump in and say I don’t give you advice. I try to let them discover that because it might be quite difficult to get their head around if someone is so clear about that. But anyway usually no advice. so why do therapists not answer questions. First thing I say is that does not apply to every therapist. Traditionally therapists would not answer any questions at all other than at the beginning some practical things like what time should we meet and how much does it cost, things like that.
Although there is another kind of camp of therapist that will answer questions. So I come to the difference. When we think about therapist not answering questions I will first say that does not apply to every therapist. Traditionally and this is going back hundred and twenty years traditionally therapists would not answer any questions but now in a way there are two camps there are people who practise in traditional way many people and then there are therapist who will answer questions later on I'll come to why. But looking first at the way in which the therapist some therapist never answer any questions. The whole idea of therapy or counselling is to get to know yourself to explore who you are and people reckon that’s a route towards more happy living. So how do we do that? when I believe when I asked a question someone or anyone asks a question there's something going on in that person some energy that says something about that see if I can think of an example so if someone says did you have a wasn't there a plant there last week I think there was a plant there but it's moved. Where is it? I know I know I've moved the plant I would my first reaction would be to go what are you feeling right now what's it mean to you. You think that the plant is gone that was there. So this is not answering the question is a way of helping the person explore what things mean to them.
Now there’s a there's a potential disadvantage or pitfall to the therapist never answering anything and the reason is that it can mean that clients stop asking any questions you know if I go to my therapist and my therapist never asked and answered any question I’d give up asking any questions and then well I'm not going to get an answer so I'm not going to ask it and so the risk is I just I just keep all those questions inside me so my policy if you like my practice is to be in this other camp of therapists who sometimes will answer questions.
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