It is striking how an image looks so different when viewed laterally. This is just as true for the most intricate of our problems.
Good counsellors do not offer solutions to people’s problems. Instead, they offer a vantage point so that people can understand their own problems better. The best counselling is based on the premise that people are smart enough to solve their own problems. Besides, everybody’s favourite ideas are their own ideas.
Quite often, problems get brushed under the carpet or are examined with merely one perspective. A good counsellor realizes this. Rather than propose solutions, she listens with care and and asks questions that help people dig deeper.
It is tempting to jump in and offer a solution that seems obvious to us. But by doing that, despite our best intentions, we rob people of the privilege of solving their own problems.
“How are you going to solve it?” is often more helpful than “Here’s your solution.”