Counsellors need to be more straightforward


August 05, 2016

Dear Pastor,

I have written to you before and although I thought you missed the point in my letter completely, I still regard your opinions and, for the most part, can understand why you exercise caution in most of your advice to people.

While I understand the need, I still think a lot of counsellors need to be honest with their clients and serve them the cold, hard truth.

I mean, if your husband daringly tells you to leave if you want to because he prefers his women, why would you suggest for them to go see a counsellor?

In cases like that, I would say, "Look man, you need to respect yourself and leave because he clearly doesn't respect you."

I think we do each other more harm by trying to sugar-coat the truth because, for some who clearly needs to hear the truth, when it is fed to them with icing we are dumb enough to think that OK, the counsellor thinks it is not so bad, so maybe I can try again.

I have been there. I was in an emotionally, verbally abusive relationship for years, to the point where we went to see a counsellor, because I would not give my then boyfriend a child if we were not married and if he didn't stop with the abuse after eight years together.

Our counsellor's advice was, "Oh, you guys don't have a problem, do you know the type of people who come to see me? People with physical abuse, broken marriages" and the list goes on. Her recommendation was to "compromise, start trying for a child and let him buy the ring when he can afford to, and try to communicate better."

Two kids, depression and no marriage later, the relationship ended. Now, I by no means blame it solely on the advice of the counsellor, because I was still young and naOve.

But we also have to stop walking on eggshells about telling people the ugly truth. "Look, young lady, set some standards for yourself and stick to it," or "Leave the man, he doesn't know what love is and he doesn't respect you," or "You are not ready for marriage or a relationship, etc".

Clearly, people go for advice because they don't have a clue about how or what to do. To hear your problem being repeated to you, then being told to do the right thing or what you think is best, is in itself confusing because most times people are lead by many things except their brains.

So I implore you and other counsellors, don't be afraid to tell it like it is and stop penny-pinching your advice. And in my case, don't tell people that what they preconceive as a problem is insignificant to the bigger picture of what everyone else is facing.

We come to you for answers, your opinion and sometimes just to vent. Please don't allow us to go back the same way we came, or worse. I am just venting; sorry for taking it out on you. I am working on me.


Dear J.D.,

Don't worry; I am not upset with you. Continue to work on yourself. I would be praying for you.


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