The Feel Good Counseling

Dr. Ricardo B. de los Santos, PhD

For more than a decade now, I have come to a disturbing realization. The guidance program of many schools, even of some institutions of higher learning have grown inutile providing only lip services to their supposed clienteles and are only counting the number of people who have felt good or better after being served.

For one, the licenses have given the professional counselors some good reasons to assume less responsibility and therefore shy away from the risks even if they knew that something better can be done: giving expert advice.

A client sincerely wishes that he will be given the truth about himself, there is only a confusion somewhere in his personality brought about by an experience. But no, the counselor declines to tell him the truth, he must do the decision-making on his own. The counselor is only there to guide him. He must never feel bad about himself or it seems that the counselor has failed in counseling him properly. Again, he must feel good even when his pleasure is being suicidal; killing himself.

For sometime, the existentialist philosophy was the “in” thing. Borrowing from it, a group of “in” counselors introduced the “here and now” framework of counseling. The past is discarded if it will only bring about anxiety, especially feelings of guilt. The future is shelved if will only bring about anxiety, especially blunders in decision-making. The home is discarded as past source of anxiety and so is a future place where one can work. What’s important is the “here and now”, nothing else would matter. Even the counselee’s church may be deemed irrelevant if it will only bring about anxiety.

But the “here and now” concept of counseling has made so much limitations from the original existentialist view. These counselors have misinterpreted and even misrepresented the focus on the present situation in accordance with the existence of the individual human person.

Consider the Catholic college student who learns from his ethics and religion classes that violation of the Ten Commandments is tantamount to committing a mortal sin. And then, in this session with the license guidance counselor, he is told that “It’s okay, it’s all right for as long as you are happy with your decision” or that “You would be happy if what you think, feel and do are integrated in your person. That everything is consistent with the way you want it.” Integrated what? Integrated criminal personality?

Now, there was a time when psychiatrists in America making money doing doodles and tic-tac-toe in cartoons have evolved into “shrinks”. As if they have shrunk the brains of their clients into believing whatever psychoanalytic garbage is giving them. I have never thought that this shrinking phenomena will cascade down to the level of the Filipino counselor.

It is a vicious cycle. This is what the institutions get for enslaving their licensed counselors in just doing meaningless statistics for the principal or the dean. Now, the counselor had evolved into a slave of numbers and therefore, he can just ask members of his class, or students of his friends to sign up and comfortably manifest a register of those who benefited from the “counseling program”.

Now, for the millennials and Generation Z students who wanted to feel good, you may get bored with your gadget games and have an eyeball feel good encounter just the same. Speak about your problems to the school guidance counselor and you are guaranteed to feel good. But the feeling may be part of a programmed virtual reality, still.

I pray and dream for a day when sincerity and truth will come back to the teaching and counseling professions. It is when a confused adolescent being fooled by his peers for his pretty boy looks would approach a teacher or a counselor, and though he may be cross-dressing, is still willing to learn the truth and ask: “Am I a boy or a girl”, and be straightforwardly told, “Why? A boy of course. Despite the dress you put on, you are really a boy.” Or vice-versa if it happens to a girl.

But now, he is cautiously told: “Whatever you wish, my child. You have all the right to choose your gender.”

Yes, the right to be wrong. Because in America right, now the children are taught they can be a boy or a girl as they like. They can be referred to as “it”, “they”, “he” or “she”. He may already be treated in the manner he likes such as if he likes to be treated as a blind person or as a deaf person or as a transable, he may amputate himself? Good Lord, we have gone beyond the suburban cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We have passed the limits of all five of them and may God have mercy on us.

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