Existential Psychology

You Are Special

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In my experience two aspects of the counseling relationship that start to eat away at clients when they forge closer, more meaningful connections with their counselors are that they have to pay for sessions and that they are not the only people their counselors see. On the surface these concerns seem ridiculous because obviously everyone knows going in that it’s a paid service, and that multiple clients are necessary for professionals to make ends meat.

But actually these concerns are both valid and important. They point to the secret or not so secret desire that every one of shares to feel special, to be unique, to be important in the eyes of the important people in our lives. Being forced to pay for access to the relationship and realizing you’re not the only one doing so casts doubt on the whole enterprise, threatening to make you feel like an interchangeable commodity rather than a special, cared for individual.

The important thing to remember when these feelings come up is that the counseling relationship is real but it’s not meant to be a substitute for the cultivation of other important relationships in your life. It’s meant to be a springboard for these relationships, a place where you can raise your awareness, talk about anything under the sun without judgment or censor, and experiment with new thoughts and behaviors. This is all meant to improve your life outside of the counseling setting. You are special, but if you depend exclusively on the counseling relationship to derive the feeling you’re ultimately going to be let down.