female counselorI recently visited a counselor as I have occasionally done over the years when feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges.  She was a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and had a teaching role with interns at our local medical center.  Since she didn’t know my situation, our first session had me talking about myself.  Our next and final meeting did not go well at all because I was still the one who needed to communicate, not her!

hands on keyboardOk she didn’t do ALL the talking, but she did spend my time on her iPhone and then her computer to research answers that she printed out on four sheets of paper for me.  I just sat there dumbfounded!  She focused on her tech distractions and told me things I could do to remedy my situation.

Is this what counseling has come to?  You go in with situations and problems and are handed band-aids?  If giving people answers and telling them what to do really worked, then why would we still have difficulties with obesity, divorce or conflicts?  After all, we have the internet, libraries and gurus galore who have their solutions and will tell us just what to do to fix any problem.

megaphone-ordersThe Dr. Phil approach of shock and awe is great for getting your attention, but having someone tell you how to live your life is such a condescending experience.

We don’t go to a counselor to get educated or be given advice.  That’s been handed down all our lives.  Parents, family, teachers, friends, co-workers, boss…  They all have their version of wisdom on how things should be done.

people talkingCommunication has two contributors, SENDER and RECEIVER.  When a person is feeling overwhelmed, depressed or stuck in some toxic feeling or situation, the best way to help them is to get them to express, talk…SEND!  Let them express themselves so they can get that monkey off their back and shoulders.

In communication, listening is the contribution of the receiver.  That’s the one who can actually facilitate communication and free any mute mouth.  Listening gives the sender the opportunity to shed stress so then they can be more receptive to exploring options, resources and improvements.  Until they can unburden themselves, answers and advice will provide little comfort.

AofL 3Listening is what we pay counselors to do since that seems to be in short supply among the usual assortment of people we know.  So it’s really important to go to one who has that hearing expertise.  I know, I’m a communication consultant who improves listening skills.

Most people equate listening with waiting their turn while the other person is speaking.  Usually when people talk they both want to be the sender.  This is called a conversation where waiting your turn is expected.  Are conversations what we really want from a counselor?

understand2When skilled listeners speak, they focus the sender on meaning and impact.   With specific phrasing and attentive attitudes, trust is gained that motivates senders to visualize the result of their words and actions.  By opening the door to the sender’s imagination, they are able to choose future responses rather than just repeat reactions.

Senders are able to gain perspective, satisfaction and self confidence when they’re allowed to explore what they’re saying rather than being handed explanations and solutions.  Skilled receivers have abilities to motivate senders past problems and into more productive accomplishments.

Art of Communication is ListeningI know that after attaining a counseling degree and license, professionals tend to adhere to what they know.  However, don’t we all hope that some have not closed their door on improving?

My first book, Elite Motivation, can be found on Kindle and Amazon.  Follow this link to find out about it:

My Guidebook, which offers a graphic filled step-by-step format can also be found on Amazon and Kindle.  Here’s the link:  MOVVE – The Five Keys of Elite Motivation

Contact Jamie Cox M.Ed., (509) 396-4307, email: or at our website:  Discover MOVVE™ our procedural application of Elite Motivation that walks the talk of messages, information and knowledge.










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