Monday, July 25, 2016

Why I became a Mental Health Counselor

I am often asked, “Why did you get your Masters in Mental Health Counseling and open a private practice?”

My whole life, I have listened to others’ problems, given support and offered advice.  This started on the playground and developed further during single life in Manhattan – in fact, there were six couples married through my matchmaking efforts.   As a married, mother of two, I still enjoyed being there for others and had experienced many of the difficulties and challenges facing my peers – marital struggles, child-raising difficulties and feelings of dissatisfaction, loneliness and frustration.

On the professional side, experience developed as a recruiter through working with hundreds of candidates on strength accentuation and goal pursuit.  Mentoring became part of the job in sales, as a corporate trainer – and I loved it.

I’ve never been shy and have always been full of advice and a desire to be helpful.  So, I could have done any number of things that combined my passions without going back for a master’s degree.  

But I realized I could be biased and over-zealous in my efforts to help someone.  I needed to learn to see things, not just from my point of view, but through demonstrated methods and researched techniques.  I wanted to learn from professionals – in school, during internship and through entry-level counseling jobs.

I also realized that sometimes, even with the best intentions, when given advice, it is human nature to fight against it – especially if we feel the other person isn’t being objective.   I needed to learn how to work with clients to help them solve their own problems.

Yes.  I am a very directive counselor.  I offer suggestions and scenarios.  “What if” scenarios are played out in many different directions.  Yes, sometimes clients know where I stand on an issue, but they know there is no judgment – no right and wrong.  We are collaborating to find the right solutions for that person.  In my practice, I get to work with people with their own, unique problems, and use life, school and work experience to help them have a happier more fulfilling life.  That is why I became a Mental Health Counselor with my own practice.