My Motivation To Pursue A Degree In Human Services Counseling

The purpose of advice is to tell others what to do (France & Weikel 2014). Most people do not view advice giving in this manner. When I give advice, I feel as if though I am offering insight, encouragement, and solutions for the given problem. Advice is one of the many reasons I decided to pursue a degree in Human Services Counseling. Family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike pour their hearts out to my husband and me on a regular basis. I feel like people are drawn to us primarily because of the calling God has placed on our lives. My husband is a good communicator and I am a great listener.

A few years ago, a couple who we attend church with and consider friends confided in us regularly about their life problems. My role was listening to the wife complain about her husband’s lack of employment, making her the sole breadwinner for her family of five. She would express deep frustration with her husband’s dysfunctional family who thrived on drama. She would also complain about her circle of friends always causing problems for her marriage. The husband would complain about the same things except for working. Too often, I would tell her she needed to get away from her those friends. They didn’t live for God wholeheartedly and were a bad influence. Instead of working and providing for their families, the husbands would hunt and fish. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6: 14 King James Version)? My husband would basically give the same advice to her husband and throw in his biblical knowledge about getting a job. But if any provide not for his own, and specifically of his own house he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5: 8, King James Version). According to Stewart (2012), you are held to account for the identity that you project by those people you hang out with. You are who you hang out with is one of the phrases I use often. These words could not be truer. A vicious cycle started to take place with this family. They would distance themselves away from their friends for a time but then go right back to hanging out with them regularly. The husband would start a job, but quit shortly after. It was extremely frustrating. We got to the point that we were tired of hearing the same things over and over. Why can’t they just listen? I finally told my husband that if they come to us anymore, the only advice we need to give in the future is to talk to their pastor, pray about the situation and offer our prayers for them. It didn’t make it any less hurtful, watching a family you care about start to get on top just to watch them fall down again. It wasn’t long ago that an affair was made public between the husband and the wife of the friends they were hanging out with. It nearly destroyed their family, but it didn’t by the grace of God. For a short time, it made them stronger as a family unit, but the vicious cycle started over again.

In this module, I learned that advice may be mistaken. My husband and I often offer advice to others based on our own experiences. I never considered how it may make someone I am offering advice to feel. They may feel like I do not understand, care, or even like I am superior to them. My intent has never been to make anyone feel this way, but I can see how it would. This has been very eye-opening for me. There are many risks associated with giving advice. The advice may be rejected or accepted. The advice may work for someone’s situation, but it may not work. These risks can result in a damaged relationship. We no longer communicate with this couple as we did before. If I had chosen a different way of responding, things might be different. Advice provides ready-made courses of action, rather than encouraging individuals to generate their own solutions (France & Weikel 2014). My goal in the future is to try to utilize the sympathy/reassurance or reflection methods of responding and let people decide what solution is best for them.

15 April 2020
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