Often, when people start therapy sessions they expect their therapists to provide tangible answers or give “quick fixes” to their problems. In other words, they want specific, concrete solutions for whatever issues that are troubling them. But most therapists avoid giving their clients advice. Here are some important reasons why it’s not a good idea.
Giving Advice Is Not Their Job
The main reason for therapists refusing to give their clients advice is that it is not their job. Actually, the role of a therapist is to present clients with a better comprehension of what motivates or causes them to act or think in the way that they do. Instead of being used to give advice, psychotherapy should be a tool that guides people in making their own decisions.
Giving Advice Can Handicap Clients
Telling clients what to do can actually handicap them. Parents of teenagers don’t always tell their kids exactly what to do. Although sometimes parents need to tell their teens what they need to do, at other times, they should simply guide kids to make the right choices.
This helps them mature so that when they enter adulthood, they won’t expect to be rescued when they make bad decisions. Likewise, a wise counselor allows their clients to make their own choices, which empowers them to feel more confident in making future decisions.
Therapists Could Be Sued
Another reason for therapists not giving advice is for protective purposes. Consider that you could be sued if your advice doesn’t work. Fortunately, therapists carry liability insurance. Therapists are also governed ethically by the state in which they are licensed as well as the professional organization. Even though you may be protected professionally, a law suit could impact the public’s perception of your practice.
What You Can Do When Clients Ask for Advice
Even though you should not offer advice, there are some things you can do to help your clients in reaching effective solutions.
- Help them explore their choices. This can be done by presenting concrete options. Then, together you and your client can review the different choices that are available, along with their pros and cons.
- As a therapist, you can suggest possibilities that are in the best interest of your clients. For instance, if a client suggests something that seems risky, you could ask, “Do you think this would be wise?”
- You can caution clients that the choices that they make now can affect the type of future relationships they’ll have with people.
- Consider the benefits of “talk therapy.” This method entails clients talking out their issues. It also helps people in therapy overcome negative thoughts, control their emotions and guides them in developing their own solutions.
Considerations and Warnings
- Not all therapists have the same approach when it comes to giving advice, meaning they use a more concrete viewpoint.
- Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to just acknowledge a person’s pain and confusion.
- During counseling sessions, be aware of crossing a boundary when it comes to telling clients what they should or should not do.
- If a client seems to be getting off track from their primary goal in therapy, gently steer him or her in the right direction without being judgmental.
Instead of Giving Clients Homework. Follow up on Results
If you have a client who’s dealing with marital problems, maybe you could help him or her come up with specific ways that could be effective in improving a relationship with a spouse.
Instead of giving clients homework, it’s important that you check in with your clients at the next counseling session. This entails asking them to review what they did or did not do, along with the results. Following up on what occurred between sessions helps in self-evaluation for clients. As a result, they can understand themselves better and improve in making daily choices, as well as in relating to others.
Are you a therapist? Maybe you’re just someone’s who genuinely cares about helping people. Visit Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) www.ArtWorksNow.com and learn more about some of the most well-known therapies. At ART we use a process known as VIR (Voluntary Image Replacement) to help people substitute negative images with positive ones. Please contact us and discover everything we have to offer.