10 Useful Things my Counseling Degree Taught Me

Well I may not be using my counseling degree per say, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t provided me great lessons for working with people or just in reference to graduate school in general.  Below are 10 things I have learned while obtaining my degree:

1.  You can only control your own thoughts and actions, so don’t try to control someone else.  This is a losing battle and will only bring frustration to you.

2.  You can never go wrong with listening and providing positive regard.

3.  People already know what they want to do.  Our jobs as friends, counselors, and significant others is not to tell them what they want to hear or what we think they should do, but to listen and ask them occasional questions.  Most of the time it will be apparent as to what they want to do, they are just afraid of making a decision.  But it is their decision to make!

4. I am not a good BSer, but as anything, the more I practiced and wrote papers, the better I became.  Believe it or not, this is actually a good skill to have!

5. Life is all about self-education.  You will learn more in graduate school compared to undergrad, but most of your learning will be from experience and self-education outside of school through reading, seminars, conferences, etc.  So go read!

7.  You can still get A’s and not buy the required books as long as the professor provide Powerpoints.  Most professors will cover test material before the exam and if you do need info from the book, study with a classmate that bought the books.  *note this is only my experience and may not apply to your program or degree*

8.  Summarizing and restating what someone says in your own words makes someone feel like you are listening to them.  However, if they know you are in counseling, do not use the phrase ” So you feel ___ bc of ____.”  It sounds too counselorish..(yep that’s a word) and not as genuine.

9.  Body language is so important.  Be aware of how you are standing, what you are doing with your hands/arms, and be aware of what your face is saying.  Just because you aren’t saying what you mean, your body can give you away if you aren’t careful!

10.  Remember that everyone is going through their own battles.  Be empathetic and listen to what they have to say.  You may be that someone who makes a positive impact on their life.

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