Why Traditional Counseling Doesn’t Work

An image of wooden blocks with the text mental health. Learn how counseling in Greenwood Village, CO can offer support from the comfort of home. Learn more by searching online therapy in Greenwood Village, CO today.

My Approach to Counseling in Greenwood Village, CO

Counseling comes in many different forms. Each counselor has their own style or approach. Some are more soft-handed. Others, like myself, are straightforward and blunt. Sometimes the sessions are more traditional. This leads me to my point in this blog, discussing why traditional counseling does not work. Many of my clients have experienced traditional counseling prior to contacting me. It is usually a number of one to three attempts at finding the right therapist. This pattern I have noticed comes from evidence that traditional counseling is not working as it used to.

I am not saying traditional therapy is bad. Instead, I am pointing out that society and expectations of mental health have changed faster than most counselors adjust their approach. This post will cover how I differ and also shed light on why I believe traditional counseling is not working as it used to.

Counseling Behavior from a Bygone Era

A stack of old pictures and portraits. Counseling in Greenwood Village, CO has evolved over time. Learn how online therapy in Greenwood Village, Co can offer support from the comfort of home by contacting an anxiety therapist today.Many counselors are taught to be therapists by watching the “fathers” or “pioneers” of counseling do their best work. But, our early examples of proper counseling are by people from a bygone era. When these old white men were at their prime in their careers, homosexuality was still a mental health illness. The words they used, their behavior, and even their wardrobe do not align with modern-day people

Many therapists speak of their credentials to start conversations with clients. But, most clients do not care. They want solutions and answers.

Therapists are often taught to be clinical. By being clinical the therapist becomes distant, cold, and off-putting. For the first time in a long time society wants to talk about mental health, not be talked at. Most learn to keep self-disclosure to an absolute minimum. This creates a sense that a therapist is a perfect person who never struggles with mental health. That they are robotic and unemotional. All of this makes the therapist seem inhuman. As if they are without flaws. Imagine talking about your money problems to a billionaire. It would feel uncomfortable. Traditional counseling keeps firm and distant boundaries between two people in a room

My Counseling Behavior

I stray away from being too much like the “fathers” of counseling. This includes culture and gender norms no longer exist as they used to. Your focus will not be on the alphabet soup after my last name as a way to build trust and confidence in me. I plan to give you 30-minutes free so you can experience who I am as a person. I won’t even mention my credentials unless you ask me to explain them. You are focused on solutions and making sure you can trust me. That I understand and can help you. That is my focus too. I’m not scared to tell you about my mistakes because I want you to learn. You don’t have to be perfect to have positive mental health. I am just as human as you are and I’m not scared to show it.

Counseling Dialogue Does not Include the TherapistA text bubble created from crumpled post-its for Morning Coffee Counseling. Learn more about counseling in Greenwood Village, CO and other services by contacting an online therapist in Greenwood Village, CO. An anxiety therapist can offer support today.

Most therapists try to help their clients by not including themselves in the conversation. Imagine this, you hire movers to help you move but they will not include themselves in the process. Traditional counseling is objective and the therapist is just another professional. No personal opinion about the therapist’s thoughts or feelings are involved

When watching videos of Carl Rogers, one of the “fathers” of counseling, doing his best work with his client Gloria I find it to be amazing.

Everything he says is perfect. His tone, pitch, pace, phrasing, everything is so polished. He’s beyond rehearsed. I cannot tell what emotion he is feeling. I am not convinced he felt anything during his session with Gloria. He is so polished and rehearsed, that I find it to be unsettling. Where is Carl in that session? Where is his humanity, his emotion, his opinion, and his thoughts? All I see is another professional. A robot imitating real human existence

Back then, people may have wanted that type of counseling. It would make sense for the time. Now, not a chance. Social media has disconnected us from one another. Now, people today want a real human experience. They no longer want to be alone with their unwanted thoughts and feelings. Parents are distracted, high school students are cannibals, and society has become hostile. Clients are seeking humanity, not another Twitter post.

My Counseling Dialogue

I have the mouth of a pirate and the mind of a scholar. This means I curse, I’m honest, I do not sugarcoat, people describe me as being straightforward, and lastly, I’m blunt during counseling sessions. I do not use clinical jargon in most of my dialogue. My goal in talking about mental health is to make it as easygoing as bar talk. I do this so you can be as comfortable as possible while discussing the unsettling details of your personal life. My goal is for you to talk to me like you talk to anyone else. The point is for me to cut straight through the bullshit and get to the source of your issues so we can make the right changes.

A close up of a man adjusting their tie. Learn how counseling in Greenwood Village, CO can offer support on a personal and professional level. Learn more about online therapy in Greenwood Village, CO and other services by contacting an online therapist today.The Therapist is a Professional, not a Person

During my graduate program, the word professional was used often. It was associated with my outward appearance. But, I was told I need to practice my clinical skills so I “stutter less” so as to sound more professional. Like I know what I am doing even if I don’t. All to save my professional image. I need to be mindful of how I sit in my chair so as to not negatively impact my professional image. “Keep your posture open” was told to me often. I also often struggled with controlling my body language in response to what I was hearing. By controlling my body language I was containing my authentic emotional responses

Where is the line drawn between being a professional and being a human? Traditional counseling would not bother to model that to any client. Clients have those concerns as they sit in our offices. But, we the therapist cannot reflect on the mundane struggles of humanity. As if by calling ourselves professionals we are suddenly less human. Here is what I know, I have more experience being a human than a professional. I would never rob any client of any experience I have

Counseling Doesn’t Feel “Real” to Clients

The word “real” has been used by many of my clients when working with me. They usually use this between the third and fourth sessions. What they mean is that I’m honest. I provide honest feedback, insight, and most of all real counseling in Greenwood Village, CO. I really tell my clients what is going on in my head. They really do get called out for their behavior. This is the opposite of traditional counseling

In most cases, most therapists stick to using reflections. There are various reflections but the goal is to mirror back what a client is saying. This allows a client to hear their own words from a different perspective. This overly relied upon clinical skill creates a sense that the relationship is not real. That the therapist is not a real person. At what point does the therapist cease to exist in the session? If there is no human connection, no emotion from the therapist, no opinion or thoughts, does the therapist even exist in the room or are they just another professional?

Lacks Creativity

An image of hanging lights for Morning Coffee Counseling. Learn how online therapy in Greenwood Village, CO can offer support by searching "online therapist in Greenwood Village, CO" today. Or, contact an anxiety therapist to learn more.Traditional counseling started with two people in a room, one listening to the other. A therapist listens to the meanderings of another person. Making observations and asking questions to come to a diagnosis. After a diagnosis was given, treatment would begin. The whole thing is very cookie-cutter

That is not my style. I don’t like a cookie-cutter approach. I don’t even diagnose, fill out treatment plans, complete mental health exams, or bother making goals. In traditional counseling, there is a step-by-step process from beginning to end. I see counseling as a river. Ever changing but always natural. I work best by just going with the flow of the river

Sometimes it is rough and turbulent. Other times it is slow but ice cold. I do not judge what I experience but find my way to ease into the flow.

This is the opposite of traditional counseling where the therapist determines the flow and the client must assimilate into a culture they know nothing about. When I notice an obstruction in a client’s natural flow I simply bring awareness to this interruption and let the client handle the rest. 

It is up to me to figure out how to bridge the gap between the subconscious and the conscious. It is different every time with every issue even with the same client and sometimes within the same session. How a client comes into contact with their own awareness requires creativity. In traditional counseling, the focus is on a pre-determined treatment plan. The goal is to stick to the plan until the client is “cured”. The whole process is very clinical

The Focus is on SMART Goals, not the ProcessA top down view of a coffee mug on a calendar. Learn how online therapy in Greenwood Village, CO offer support in your busy schedule. Learn more about counseling in Greenwood Village, CO and other services today.

If the goal of counseling is to find a cure to the diagnosis then there must be a process. What I was taught was to help the client come up with SMART goals. Every session we would talk about goals and track how much progress has been made between sessions. I was instructed to evaluate behind the scenes in my notes or just mentally how the client is doing. Essentially giving the client a grade of some sort regarding their progress. If there was little to no progress they were deemed “treatment resistant”. I cannot stand that term.

I have learned that the process of achieving those goals is more important than what the actual goal is.

It’s about the journey, not the destination. Clients focus on their own goals. The goal of having a higher quality of life is what drove them to seek counseling in the first place. If focusing on goals is all it took to achieve them, the world would be a different place. 

The conversations on goal tracking are a waste of time. The problem is not the goals or lack thereof with clients, it is the process in which they go by completing them. I’ve told all of my clients I don’t care about their goals. The process will determine if they ever achieve their goals. My conversations are about their process. It is about their natural flow and what is getting in the way. It’s about building awareness of the blockages and finding creative solutions to remove them. Goals are nothing more than fleeting achievements in each person’s life

Client’s like to Learn, Traditional Counselors Don’t like to Teach

One thing I have always done is teach counseling theory and techniques to my clients. In learning about how to give therapy, I’ve learned how to better my own mental health. I have taken these lessons and incorporated them into how I operate. I teach counseling theory, techniques, and practical applications of what I know. Doing this helps you become more self-sufficient. I was not taught to give psychoeducation in this way. 

Traditionally the therapist knows all. They are the expert, the professional, and the educated. I was told these theories can be difficult to understand. My professors told me to reflect in various ways. I was encouraged to point out that when a client asks me what to do, I am to point out they do not trust themselves to come up with an answer. But I questioned, if counseling theory is based on studies of human nature, then why not teach all our clients about themselves through a counseling lens?

 How I Developed My Counseling Approach

I received counseling myself and realized how cold and distant my therapists were. The few that I connected with were non-traditionalists themselves. These helped me feel I was not alone in my pain and struggles. They were honest even if what I needed to hear was difficult. Plus, they behaved like real people but had the knowledge and experience of a professional. I questioned, who am I in this space? What type of professional do I want to be? How can I be honest with who I am and still add value to the lives of others? By answering those questions I became the person I am today in session. Straightforward, blunt, honest, insightful, and experienced.

If you are looking to learn more about me, follow the link and continue reading.

Begin Counseling in Greenwood Village, CO

I would be honored to provide straightforward, blunt support from my Greenwood Village, CO-based practice. You deserve to find the right support, and I can meet with you to see if I’m the right fit. To start your therapy, please follow these simple steps:

1. Schedule a free consultation

2. Learn more about me and my practice

3. Start realizing a brighter future for your mental health!

Other Services Offered with Morning Coffee Counseling

I am happy to offer a variety of mental health services from my Greenwood Village, CO-based practice. I offer services both in-person and online in support of your mental health. I’m happy to offer sex-positive therapy, anger management therapy, anxiety treatment, depression treatment, emotional intelligence therapy, and treatment for narcissism. Feel free to learn more by visiting my blog or about page today.

Speak Your Mind

*



6200 S Syracuse Way Ste 260
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

James.Marrugo@MorningCoffeeCounseling.com
720.253.8272

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.