Counselling skills

Patience: When To Intervene And When To Wait

Ljubljana, Slovenia. Photograph © 2016 M.F. van Alphen

One of the disadvantages of working in any professional capacity is that it is difficult to switch off your professional self when you leave your work environment. As a couple’s counsellor, you notice all the things in your own relationship that ‘don’t follow the rules’. When you work pedagogically, it becomes difficult not to correct your partner when he interacts differently with the children than the ideal described in your study books. The tendency to want to fix everything then needs to be suppressed, as also your need to convert. Couple’s counsellors, for example, aren’t immune to relationship issues, and often these issues arise because they cannot distance themselves from their profession in their own relationships. The lesson in this is that not every context requires intervention. Before you decide to intervene, you first need to ask yourself if it is relevant. At home it usually isn’t relevant, as you are the other’s partner, not the other’s therapist!