The roles of the counselor and the participant, in ensuring and accomplishing a smooth and effective counseling session experience
In my journey of learning, mastering, rewriting and creating techniques of spiritual liberation and self-enlightenment, I could not help but notice that existing systems for such things tend to be laden and encumbered with self-serving indoctrinations that detract from the goal.
Sometimes people have a tendency to invent clever complexities of procedure and systems that can appear impressive, but actually, burden the process of self-realization with what actually amounts to detours. There are presumptions, practices, and attitudes that, observable, are obstacles that restrict the being’s addressing and processing what is manifesting for them, that restrict the being’s communication channel with the counselor, essentially, by misdefining what the counselor should (and should not) be doing, and what the client should (and should not) be doing. This is evidenced by how frequently I have found it necessary to convey to the client that they should not, for any reason, dismiss or disregard any and all answers they are finding, anything that is manifesting for them, and any amount of answers that they may have when given a question or processing instruction. It can (and does) even reach the degree of the participant declining to express that they aren’t sensing any connection to or with the subject or material being addressed by the process, or by the counselor. When session participants are granted the power of their correct and appropriate role as the client in processing, the universal response is relief and joy.
I consider the following to be the backbone of successful therapeutic spiritual counseling:
The client must be absolutely granted not only permission, but absolute encouragement to express anything and everything that comes to mind in the session.
In the session, a client may sometimes think that they shouldn’t say something, for any number of reasons, including the following considerations:
- “I don’t want to waste your time going on too long about this”
- “I thought of something, or I got an image, but it doesn’t seem to answer the question”
- “I have more items coming to mind, but I should wait until you repeat the question, before I give another answer”
- “If I were to say what I’m thinking, you might get mad at me, or disappointed with me, or think badly of me”
- “I previously addressed this item”
- “I already said something about this, so even though more about it is coming to mind, or its still coming to mind, I don’t think you want me to give something like the same answer twice”
Here’s one from a client of mine, in referring to his sessions in the Church of Scientology:
“I wanted to please the auditor (counselor)”!
And, being that it had been a part of my own journey, as well as that of many of my participants, I will speak further to the mis-indoctrinations of the Scientology system. All of these examples of ingrained ideas and patterns that, to whatever degrees, degrade the necessary free flow of expression from the participant to the counselor are built into the system, in the flaws in both concept and execution of Scientology’s core counselor training material, TR’s (Training Routines). These missteps likely occur in other approaches as well, so it is worth the time for us to examine these.
The fact is, ANY denial of expressing what comes to mind in a session is, to some degree, a blockage or inhibiting of the flow that allows for the processing of case material, and it is the counselor’s full responsibility to genuinely create, and exude, an aura of absolute freedom and safety for the client.
This is why one thing that I do emphatically convey to every client, whether experienced or totally new to this, is:
“We are a team, and a fundamental part of your role is to express absolutely anything and everything that comes to mind. I couldn’t ever not want to receive anything that comes to mind for you- if it was otherwise, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you, doing this. I not only could never have a problem, or not want to hear something that comes to mind for you, but I’m completely eager to know every idea, every thought, every image or feeling that emerges or manifests for you- don’t ever think otherwise, and if for some reason you do, please just let me know!
Sometimes, you may have a thought, an image, idea or incident pop up that does not seem to answer the question or relate to it, but nevertheless, always do tell me about it, and as we continue, the relevance will emerge for you.
If you have more than one thing come to mind, then tell me all of them, give every answer that is popping into your mind- don’t hold it in and wait for the question to be repeated- always give the answers when they emerge for you”
The basic role of the counselor is not to control, which means to enforce and/or inhibit but to instead work from the basis of EMPOWERING THE CLIENT. All of your negative spiritual architectures and the energies therein is a collection of masses of enforcement and inhibitions. To inject enforcements and inhibitions into the process is to reinforce the power of the very things any participant is seeking relief from.
The role of the counselor is to facilitate the client’s handling of his items of interest, positive and negative.
The practitioner is not there “to control” the client. On the contrary, the practitioner is there to grant the participant the freedom and undistracted focus to process and express has been manifesting for them, and what manifests is what emerges when the client addresses the material that relates to their own goals for the processing, and for their life. The practitioner’s basic role is to grant those things.
The late, great John Mcmaster expressed this basic truth wonderfully well in one of his lectures; he explained how he was asked what this “special knack” was that he had for giving such great sessions; he had to think about that for a moment, and spotted that it was what he wasn’t doing, as well as what he was doing: he wasn’t evaluating, judging, computing, or in fact, generating any thoughts, let alone verbal expressions, after offering a question or instruction for the participant that invited them to take a look inside, and while waiting for the participant to complete their answer to their satisfaction; he was, simply and only, being present with them, and completely interested. He was not evaluating, silently or otherwise; he was not entering any sort of distractive thoughts or attitudes that would otherwise taint and compromise the pure spiritual co-existence that is perfectly creating a processing session. The role of the counselor, demonstrated; that was his “special knack”.
I have had my own experience which taught me this well, back in 1982, during my time in Scientology, making use of the “e-meter”, an electronic device in which the session participant (called a “pre-clear”) holds 2 cans which act as electrodes to complete a very mild electrical circuit, causing one’s reactions to things to register in the motions of a needle against a dial background. As the participant is walking through some traumatic incident, the triggering of reactions to the content of the incident translates into motions of the needle. In one session during my training, I noticed that if I silently willed the question I’d verbally asked the participant, again and again, it causes a sudden reaction of the needle, demonstrating that even if the counselor silently, non-verbally enters thoughts into the process, these penetrate, and are distractive to the participant. That demonstrated to me why, as the counselor, while the participant is digesting some of their material, I need to simply be, and be with them, and not generating ideas, attitudes or intentions.
The participant’s role is to be there with the purpose of moving in the direction of their spiritual goals and to freely and fully express and experience whatever manifests for them in effortlessly allowing and digesting whatever their spiritual compass delivers in response to the questions or instructions that invite them to do so.
People experience many things in life that bring about a reluctance to fully take on the role of the participant in processing, and/or a tendency to do otherwise. This is something to process as needed.
But also, people frequently have prior experience and/or indoctrination in other practices which can mislead them into attitudes, ideas and behavior patterns that detract from the simplicity of what they should (and shouldn’t) be doing, and so there can be a learning curve in gaining a person’s understanding and acceptance of how to best benefit from the opportunity of a therapeutic spiritual counseling session; it is, of course, the practitioner’s role and responsibility to notice any such impediments and to enlighten the participant as needed.
Some practices train counselors to expect and more or less demand short and direct answers to their questions and “commands”, and to even reject the expressions that naturally emerge from the participant with a brusque “I’ll repeat my question”- at least one cult-like practice that I’m familiar with actually ingrains that behavior in their counselors, forcing the participants into a submissive, “I’d better please the counselor” role- abominable!
It’s really so easy and natural to simply go with the flow of one’s spiritual compass, take and digest what is presented, and there’s no more effective means of bringing about the gains that inspire and drive the participant to arrive and participate in the process. Doing anything else is going against the natural grain, and regardless of how clever, complicated and otherwise impressive the ways of doing so may be, they are, in fact, counter-intuitive, and turn an otherwise smooth and flowing session into work.
I think the factors voiced here go a long way in explaining why usually, when I take on a client who has no previous experience with processing, and I just refer them to a few of my own files and videos and have a short conversation with them about what we’ll be doing and how it works, and they tend to progress better than those struggling with some incompatible indoctrination. Half the time, they have such a spiritual liberation after their first one or 2 sessions, that for weeks, or even months afterward, they are still talking about how wonderful they’re doing from that processing.
The processing can only run and accomplish something worthwhile to the degree that the being himself feels free to be present, and freely experience and express whatever may manifest over the course of the session.
That is most easily accomplished with the practitioner’s complete interested acceptance, absent of any and all forms of resistance, including any evaluations/judgments, verbal or otherwise, and any and all other distractions, and impositions.