As a counselor and counselor educator, I am blessed to witness how counseling relationships foster deep healing, recovery, and growth. Through counseling and supervising, I have observed individuals and families experience freedom from shame and fear, and taste goodness where life was once sour, tasteless, or unpalatable. Those of you who are counselors have seen this too!
Through counseling, hurting people can experience the world, themselves, others, and our Creator with renewed joy and lasting hope. A particular blessing in my role as an educator is hearing from students and graduates of the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program here at Covenant Seminary who are impacting lives in significant ways.
I recently heard a story of a young person with significant developmental trauma who was working with a Covenant-trained counselor. The counselor told me how, for weeks, the counseling sessions focused on building a relationship with this young person who experienced fear and confusion in many areas of life.
Building the relationship was not an easy task and required patience and wisdom on the part of the counselor. The counselor even expressed doubt that the counseling efforts were making a difference until, one day, the client said something like: “I really like talking to you because all those other things I used to think about are not as scary.”
What a powerful and moving statement! This counselor-client relationship is an excellent example of how prioritizing safety within the counseling relationship is a crucial aspect of our work. Building safety not only sets us up to do the healing work, it is the healing work! Fear and worry can be all-consuming, but both began to dissipate for this young person through a safe relationship and attachment to a counselor!
I hope, like me, that you find this story encouraging for your own counseling and relational efforts. I rejoice that this type of healing work is happening worldwide through the counseling work of our Covenant MAC alumni.
DR. JEREMY RUCKSTAETTER is Associate Professor of Counseling and Interim Co-Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program at Covenant Seminary.