"Isn't being a counselor just depressing?!"

When people hear what I do for a living, there are generally three responses:

1. "Oh..." (*immediately changes subject*)

2. "Hey, I know someone who struggles with ___, what do you think about that?"

3. "Hmm isn't that just depressing?!"

The first two comments could be posts all their own, but today I wanted to focus on the last response. I'd say it's the most common response to finding out that I'm a counselor. And I get it. From the outside, it might seem that I spend my days listening to sad story after sad story, tales of woe and misery, all depressing all the time. But I'm here to tell clear up some misconceptions about counseling.

Here's what being a counselor is actually like:

  1. It's a front row seat to the range of human experience. My clients tell stories of their best days and their worst days- sometimes all in the same session. It's a reminder that we all have light and dark inside of us.

  2. It's getting to look at things from a new perspective. Sometimes we get stuck in a certain way of thinking that's not helpful. It's exciting to see clients begin to look at situations in a new, more helpful way.

  3. It's inspirational. I hear stories of bravery every day. When someone is telling me about a tough situation, I make a point to be a bravery detective. A lot of the time, people aren't aware that what they are doing is really brave- and when they are told that it is, everything changes.

  4. It's seeing transformation happening right before my eyes. I've seen hopelessness change to hopefulness. I've heard negative self-talk change to positive self-talk. I've witnessed relationships totally re-energized. It's amazing.

What do you think? Is this what you thought it was like to be a counselor? Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts on the other two responses!