A counsellor is someone who offers encouragement. A sounding board who listens with either a view to advise or just to allow you to express yourself and clarify your thoughts. Sometimes we need people to listen to our rumbling and as we rumble we gain clarity of thought. They offer perspective and major evaluation. In other words they can tell you, where you are going wrong in your personality, your opinion and your attitudes. Counsellors in most cases come in for short periods of time. If you find a counsellor who desires a long-term counselling relationship and requires you to be dependant on them then there is a problem. A counsellor should be able to help and then release you to move on. A counsellor may also help deal with emotional issues.
Bob, a friend for many years, emigrated some years ago together with his family. He developed serious family issues with his in-laws. On one visit back home I had a chat with him and felt impressed to encourage him. He was relieved because at that point he felt trapped with no one to confide in. He feared that discussing the family problems with an outsider would be a betrayal of the family. I knew the family well. I was acquainted with the behind the scenes happenings in his extended family. I pointed out where I felt he had been ill-treated and corrected him where he had been wrong. He confided that he was at a point where he was considering divorce due to the stress in the family. However he felt relieved to know that someone understood what he was going through. A while later I got a long distance call from Judith, his wife. She told me that what I had discussed with her husband a few weeks earlier really helped him. She then explained to me the family situation. I listened, asked questions and then gave her some counsel. I asked about their marital relationship. She recounted how the challenges and conflicts in her family of origin had adversely affected her marriage. What compounded the situation was that she pressured him to quit their current church family. He would not budge but began to default on his priestly role in the family. On probing it became clear that she was tiring him with complaints and nagging about both the church and family issues. I asked her not to put him under any pressure and desist from discussing the issues of conflict for a month. I gave her an assignment to pray for God’s help and release the matter to His capable hands.
A month later I received an excited call. Her voice exuded joy and exuberance that had been missing for a while. The conflicts had ceased in their family. Bob had started to take his rightful position in the home. They were now praying together. She had peace of mind concerning the strife in the family of origin although it was not fully resolved yet. Bob had finally decided to resign from the church without her prodding and they had wonderfully settled in a new church family. Their marriage had been saved.
Once in a while Judith still communicates to update me on developments. The challenges of her family of origin are still a work in progress but she has also noticed her own complicity in the strife and is working on it.