I want to share with my readers some pitfalls and problems when we attempt to help others through counseling them while we are still emotionally unhealed. These issues I am about to discuss are important considerations when we counsel others on emotional and mental issues while we are still unhealed. Many in the spiritual community feel the need to help and save others from suffering, pain, and self destruction.
However, if we are still unhealed ourselves we may do more damage or harm to others, and even adversely impact our own lives. Many in the spiritual community practice spiritual bypass, and as such, they bypassed their own emotional healing, and believe that they have cured themselves without doing the difficult emotional work required for such healing.
These are some of the problems I have encountered personally or have observed in others in the spiritual community:
- Projecting your needs onto your counselee: Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. Many times when we are unhealed, we have fears, impulses, and issues that have been unresolved. Therefore, we believe these fears, impulses, and issues are in those we counseled instead of ourselves. We may become overbearing, controlling, and demanding with them. This may created unnecessary anxiety, fear, and even frighten away our counselees from seeking further help.
- Your emotional traumas may be triggered: Many may counsel others on issues they experienced that are unhealed traumas within themselves, such as child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, etc. Many may experience triggering of this past trauma. These triggers may cause inability to cope with daily functions, and one to experience uncontrollable fears, anxiety, and terror.
- Inability to set appropriate boundaries during tranference: Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is “the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person’s childhood”. When we experience traumas, one reason the traumas occurred is due to a violation of our physical, sexual, or emotional boundaries. Even as adults, we may not have learned how to set healthy boundaries to keep ourselves safe. Tranference is a common occurrence between counselor and counselees. The counselee may interpret the counselor’s kindness and compassion as sexual or romantic interest. If counselors have not learned to set appropriate and healthy boundaries, the counselor will fall prey to unhealthy and inappropriate romantic or sexual relationships with their counselees.
- Attraction to perpetrators you counsel: If we have unhealed emotional traumas, we vibrate at a lower vibrational frequency. It is not a judgment to have a lower vibrational frequency as we all can increase our vibrational frequency. However, because of the lower vibrational frequency, we may more likely resonate at the same vibrational frequency as our counselees who may be perpetrators of sexual or physical violence. As such, we are more likely to feel sexual, physical, or emotional attraction to them as a result of resonating at similar frequencies. This prevents the counselor from acting or responding objectively toward their counselees, and again may fall prey to romantic or sexual relaionships with their counselees.
- Becoming preyed upon by your counselee: When we become romantically, sexually, or emotionally entangled with our counselees, and we attempt to break off this unhealthy relationship, we may be preyed upon by the counselees. I have known counselors who fled the state with no forwarding address to seek safety from their counselees who stalked, threatened their lives, and even set fire to their car.
I am not suggesting that you must heal all your emotional wounds before becoming a counselor, but education, training, and licensure can help with these pitfalls and on how to deal with them. I have decided for myself that I will not serve as a one-on-one counselor for another as I am not a trained or licensed counselor. Instead, I have decided to share my techniques and practices through this blog. (Copyright 2016 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)