When I think about the process of counseling, I am drawn to the imagery of a journey to try to explain it. To me, counseling is not about an expert helping to fix a problem, but it’s about someone who’s willing to accompany another person on part of their journey through life. I think counseling is the companionship we need when our journey is tiring, overwhelming, or lonely. Back home in Ireland, they have a proverb – giorraíonn beirt bóthar, or two people shorten a road. I think counseling is about shortening the hard parts of the journey.
I grew up and lived in a part of Ireland that was all mountains, hills, and twisty roads. As a result, you often couldn’t see very far ahead on the road, because there was a hill or a corner blocking your view of the road ahead. And that’s another reason I like the image of a journey to explain counseling – it’s about accompanying someone until they can reach a point on the road where they can see further ahead, have a better vision of where they want to go and how they want to get there. The counselor is the companion that help’s another reach the point where they can see the road ahead.