Clients come into the counseling office and many have the question, “Why?”

“Why do I treat my husband this way?”
“Why was I unfaithful?”
“Why am I experiencing this?”
“Why is this my response?”

Can I be real for a minute? The question why shook me as a counselor. For a hot second, I abhorred that question. Why?! I did not want the accountability of answering the question. And yet, the why comes.

Sometimes clients want support to move through a painful transition.
These clients need a step-by-step in managing daily reality. How can I continue to live with ______ is the question these clients come with. I might not be able to move forward is a form of the underlying belief.

But there are just as often clients who come in who have faced those painful transitions. Now. They. Just. Want. To. Understand.
How did this happen?
Why did I choose what I chose?
How did I get here?
Why do I act the way I act?

Here is the real talk. Something you might not hear from another source. Most counselors cannot know why. Most counselors cannot unravel and discern all the pieces of a complex and intertwined story woven within stories. What most counselors can do is help you come to terms with what is and what was. Counselors are equipped to support you with tools as you navigate the difficulty of life and heartbreak and loss and the beauty of the in between. <<<The later, that is my jam!

No human counselor has that inside scoop; why did it go down this way? Why couldn’t I have gotten there just a half hour earlier? Why do I keep replaying this a million times, a million ways?

When working with children, the why is easier to manage. The answer can be more simplistic.
Why does my child have these thoughts?
Why are they behaving this way?

The resolution is frequently found within relationship between caregiver and child. Focusing on alignment, clear communication, and thoughtful boundaries help answer the root of many issues brought by parent and child into counseling.

When it comes to answering the question for adult clients, there are a few ways to sift through and find portions of the answer. Utilizing timelines and/or family tree maps can be helpful. These birds-eye view pictures may provide a more broad understanding of brokenness and connection which affected you personally. It may produce empathy to recognize others’ plight and pain. Check below for one version of a timeline worksheet.

These answers do not come quickly. Often, they are not black-and-white. The hardest question I have faced up to this point as a counselor is why. I have found a bit of peace in recognizing it is okay for me not to have the answer but to hold space while clients wrestle with what was, what could have been, and what is, and might remain while the question is there.

It is difficult to face the unknown. You are not alone in this hardship. As a counselor, I partner in accepting the existence of the pain and shouldering the difficulty. To remove it; that is not my work. It cannot be. I would rapidly render myself ineffective as a counselor. You see, I am counselor with a lowercase c. This is significant. (Please see Psalm 32:8.) I do not set myself as The Counselor.

For me personally, I lean into what I know when the uncertainty is rocking my world. What am I thankful for? What do I have? What can I learn? How did I benefit? How am I capable? These questions, for me, provide more useful fodder for thought.

Ready to jump in? Schedule an appointment here or contact me for a free consultation.

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