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Why Bartenders Don't Make Good Counselors

Let’s state the obvious, a bartender doesn’t mind if you never get better. It is easy to find wisdom over the counter advice after a few cocktails, but it’s not usually what will fix the core problem of your complaint. Like the cocktails, it is often just a band aid. There is a common misconception that bartenders, hairdressers, and the like can almost be therapeutic.

Talking does have a cathartic effect, and it can be easy to share with a familiar face rather than a stranger staring you down over a notepad. However, the advice you get after three drinks or while you are getting a trim may not be what is best for you. They are going to be quick to side with you and provide opinions that keep you coming back. Why is this not good?

I’ll answer that with another misconception - Counselors don’t want you to be in therapy forever. Our job is to help you figure out things so you can eventually do it on your own. Otherwise, we aren’t doing our job. The fact of the matter is, in order to help you, we don’t always side with you. We don’t always share your same sentiments or views of the problem. Our job is to see you, and slowly zoom out so we can get a better idea of what your whole life looks like. Once we see the big picture, we try to help you see it.

We don’t offer advice. Why? You are the expert on your life. We could easily tell you what we think or what we think you should do, but that doesn’t help you grow. It doesn’t inspire self exploration or problem solving. We want to walk with you as you explore each avenue and what will ultimately be best for you.

We guide you to clarity and give you resources to help yourself. That means providing a gentle nudge from time to time and supporting you as you make your own conclusions about what is happening in your life. So we may not make the best margaritas, but we do truly want you to get better. And we will give you the tools so you no longer need us.

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