When Advice Doesn’t Help
There are things we don't know, and when we don't know them it's tempting to seek the advice of other people. This can often be a good idea, especially if you consult an expert in their field. However, when it comes to personal issues there are some significant downsides to seeking and getting advice from experts. Why is it that sometimes when advice doesn't help?
Consulting an expert is great …
When it comes to questions of car mechanics, taxation, computer software, the law or many other issues, consulting an expert and getting their advice is a great idea. They'll usually be able to sort out a problem quickly; there's less chance of them getting it wrong. They have become experts in their field; the questions that you ask them are usually ones they have thought through and answered a hundred times before. Their technical advice is often confident, precise, impartial and easy to follow.
… but who is an expert on you?
It's natural to think that the same approach would apply with mental health. Many people imagine that they find a psychotherapist or counsellor, lay out their problems, and receive good advice about what to do. They can therefore be surprised when a counsellor or psychotherapist is reluctant to do that. It can leave the person seeking help frustrated and confused.
It starts with ‘What do I really want?'
Often the reason the counsellor or psychotherapist is reluctant to do this is because people approach mental health professionals with the question “What should I do?” without having necessarily thought through “What do I really want?” – and from our perspective, it's impossible to answer the first question without being clear about the second. It is with this second question that the counsellor or psychotherapist can really add value.
Helping you get clear
Psychotherapist and counsellors are trained to work with you in depth so you can get clear on what you really want; not what you think you want, not what your partner wants you want, or what you were brought up to believe you wanted.
Once you know what you really want and if you're prepared to commit yourself to it, then what you should do becomes a lot more clear and obvious; you might not need anybody's advice.
Tell me what you think in the comments.
– Tim Hill
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