Even if we lean towards a ‘glass half-full’ view of things, it is hard not to notice the pain and the brokenness that exists in the world around us. Chances are, if you are an empathetic person with a capacity to care for others that you have found yourself in one-on-one helping situations. Compassionate people will often find that others will confide in them and, although many consider it a privilege to be invited into a person’s world in this way, it can also be a very frustrating moment when people find that their desire to help others is much higher than their level of skill and ability to do so effectively.
Not surprisingly, people who resonate with this reality have often considered training to become a counsellor at some stage of their lives. Counselling is one of those rare ‘transformative’ professions; or perhaps vocation would be a better word to depict the sense of deep dedication and life-long calling that many counsellors describe.
Because so much of the work and rewards of counselling occur behind the protective doors of confidentiality, it can be easy to underestimate the powerful dynamics that are at work. Tectonic-shifting life change can happen in the unseen world of a counselling room; great geographies of the heart can be traversed and understood in new ways and new frontiers of freedom can be discovered, fought and won.
Former Baptist minister, Richard Cook (BTI Dean of Counsellor Education and Academic Services) is convinced of the value that counselling can hold for individuals. “Counselling is not just a chance to talk; it’s a chance to talk to somebody who understands something about the process of growing and changing. A good friend or family member can engage compassionately and sensitively, but counselling is about engaging with someone who is a good listener and who is also skilled in a change process.”
Many men and women come and train as counsellors in the autumn of their life once their families have left home and they are in a position to invest time and energy into long-held dreams and new pursuits. However, there is also an emerging generation of counsellors in their mid twenties and thirties who have a remarkable passion to see people find wholeness and transformation.
Michelle Tuke is nearing the completion of her Bachelor of Counselling degree at BTI and is happy to talk about her passion for the field she has chosen. “What motivates me is possibility and I guess that goes hand in hand with hope; possibilities that things can be different; that we can think about things differently or that we can move through a process to a new place. I have got a heart that can keep me in a room with someone exploring things and looking for the smallest glimmer of hope for hours if they want me to and I like that I can hold that hope for people, even if they don’t hold it for themselves.”
Please see www.bti.ac.nz for more details