Session 4
Counselling principles

Welcome back!

How are YOU? How is your LIFE? 

You are just about to start a second journey, a journey that has the potential to be different and equally meaningful. This part is about action, about your next level and – as always – about:

Who YOU dare to be and which IMPACT you wanna stand for? 

Questions? Just contact us here.

Counselling principles  | Homework

Counselling principles

Counselling principles – Kick off

Counselling can be effective with whatever set of beliefs we choose to have.

However, there’s a high probability to become much more effective if we cultivate the a couple of presuppositions.

These presuppositions are no objective “truths”. They are assumptions we make about the human mind that provide a ground on which human and personal change becomes easier to implement.

Principle #1

The answer is always a question

We can never fully “know” the map of the world of our counsellee (By “map of the world” we mean the set of beliefs, assumptions and values that our counsellee has and based on which our counsellee makes decisions).

Everything we perceive as the map of our counsellee is our mere projection. Answers we give might be valid and working in our map, however, probably not for  the value and belief system of our counsellee.

Even if our answer might be logical and even if – in the end – it turns out to be the same answer the counsellee gives, we let the counsellee come up with answers, because there are several pitfalls:

1. The counsellee simply might not yet be in a state to give that particular answer to himself (more simply: he is just not yet ready).

2. We deprive the counsellee of his responsibility for action when we are the ones giving answer.

3. Our answer indeed might simply be wrong and interrupt the creative thinking process of the counsellee.

Thus: we do not give answers. We only give questions.

Principle #2

Respect THEIR map of the world

We assume that each and everyone has their inner map of the world i.e. their very own and individual set of needs, values, beliefs, emotions and derived actions.

Each map is an individual representation of what your counsellee projects on themselves and their environment.

With our counsellee we do not waste energy on fighting about whether or not we think that (s)he is right or wrong.

Especially: We do not assume that our own map of the world is better than that of the counsellee.

It is however our goal to be aware of the fact that we have no clue whatsoever about our counsellee’s map, nevertheless to explore that map, and to stay rooted and relaxed about whatever we think about differently.

A small (potentially controversial, but equally classic) example:

Imagine you are a rich person trying to counsel a politician whether or not to raise taxes on wealth. You might be inclined to start a conversation about how stupid and wrong it is to raise taxes for rich people (“Rich people after all are the backbone of our economy and will obviously move abroad as soon as taxes are raised!”). This example easily shows how when you start bringing in your own map of the world, and do not entirely stick to the map of your counsellee, your counsellee can easily loose the authority over the outcome of the counselling process. Just out of politeness your counsellee might will in to your version of the story and – boom – the result of the counselling isn’t theirs, but yours!

The abovementioned example also nicely shows: You cannot counsel everyone!

If you are too involved, or feel to heavily about a certain topic the risk of you influencing the process is big  (e.g. you are suppose to counsel someone on how to break up, but your long term partner has just broken up with you, and subconsiously you are actually “counselling your counsellee into STAYING in that relationship”).

Is that always a problem?

Not always, but especially as a beginner you wanna be aware of your own projections.

What to do?

  • You shut up, regardless. If that is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE, go to the next bullet point.
  • If you feel that you have a very strong preference for one reality/objective/solution/action over the other, make it transparent to your counsellee. Say: “Look, my subconsciousness tells me […]. This is likely because of my own story of […]. MY STORY WILL BE DIFFERENT FROM YOURS. Take what you wanna take, do not take what you do not wanna take. Just because I am thinking this doesn’t mean it’s true or better.” If this regularly leads to arguments in the counselling process, got the next bullet point again 😉
  • You stop the counselling, because you are biased/predjudiced.

Principle #3

There’s no failure only feedback

When something – during the counselling or in general – did not work out we presuppose that this is not an occurrence inherent of the counsellee’s personality or behaviour (“Oh it didn’t work out simply because I was too much of a shy idiot.”).

We presuppose that if something did not work out this was a reflex of our environment/ the universe to a particular action we consciously or unconsciously chose to carry out.

We reject the idea that if something did not work out it had anything to do with “who the counsellee is” but “what the counsellee chose to do”.

The universe will only answer the questions we ask. If we ask “Why me? Why am I such a shy idiot?” you will find all the answers. If you do however ask “How can I solve x? How can I give more?” you are likely to find more intelligent and more creative answers.

WHY do we do this?

Things WILL probably go wrong during the counselling process. And any sort of failure (euhm… constructive feedback from the universe ;)) can be hard to swallow. It is just so much easier to believe that  – well… it’s just an experiment gone wrong rather than your counsellee (or you as a counsellor) having failed in your very essence (ouch!)

Principle #4

Every behaviour is rooted in a good intention

We presuppose that we are all reigned by human needs, and that we all have things we value. These things are by definition not bad. They might interfere with what others think or do, but at their root they are all good.
Well… think about it!

It really is a matter of putting yourself into the shoe of someone else. Even waking up in the morning thinking: “Today I’m gonna hurt Paul!” This might look like a bad intention, but if you really really look closely: Often times the REAL intention would be “to alleviate myself of that pain that Paul gave to me” or “sweet revenge” or whatever you wanna call it.

We are NOT justifying bad behaviour here! And as soon something gets illegal, hurtful or generally gives you a bad gut feeling, pls DO VOICE IT! At times your job as a counsellor is ALSO to protect the people who are not in the room.

BUT: There are really very very very very few mentally healthy people who wake up in the morning saying “Today, I am going to be a real idiot!” without any further reason (we don’t wanna exclude it, but we’ve never met one).

Principle #5

People always choose the best option available to them

People make decisions based on their map of the world. Some of these decisions might be incomprehensible to us, because we have different values or the decision that probably might bring the counsellee closer to his goal is easier for us to be made.

However, even if a decision, a behaviour or a value for instance appears painful, wrong or unhealthy to us at first sight we presuppose that according to his map this was the best decision, behaviour or value he could possibly come up with.

We assume that even if there is long run pain associated with the status quo there must be a short term use of the counsellee’s behaviour or value. There will be a reason for why the counsellee consciously or unconsciously took the particular route he took.

Rather than thinking of this as stupid or lazy we should look for what is shaping the status quo in the counsellee’s mind: What is the pleasure he gets short run and what is the long run pain associated.

First thing: Is it REALLY that obvious?

No person (or: no people who WE know) will knowingly do something stupid.

If you think it’s stupid, you probably haven’t entirely understood what your counsellee really values/fears.

Remember: It doesn’t matter what homework you have written down in the counselling session, but what homework your counsellee has ACTUALLY completed! If your counsellee hasn’t done the homework for instance (although you thought it as easy, and it was so silly to NOT do it), the homework wasn’t right. And something else was still more important. Go and ask what it was! Share that you thought different if you like. But most importantly: Learn to read your counsellee!

Principle #6

You haven’t done it until you did it!

In the counselling business visualisations, dream journeys, creative imagination and alike are used like pills against anything.


The problem is: Although “imagining something” and “doing something” in your brain is exactly the same thing (indeed the same areas in your brain get active). YET, in practice: they are two VERY different things.

In short: Having VISUALISED that you are successful simply is NOT the same as BEING successful. The difference is what? ACTION! You got it!

Often times counsellees are already carried away – by the mere visualisation of their objective. Don’t be fooled by that! Don’t let them remain in the state of dreamy-wannabe! Get them to DO STUFF!

Principle #7

If you don’t get the desired outcome, you need to change your strategy

The reason why we do not get something is not because it is impossible. It is because we are on the wrong path of getting there. For sure other people have done it before or at least: other people did things that seemed impossible.

This principle is supposed to encourage you to continue. Even if it seems hard at times!

Principle #8

Everyone has within them the resources to change – or they can easily attain them

We presuppose that we all have the emotional resources to commit to change, because we all prefer “better” over “worse”.

If we feel that we do not have the resources to do that we presuppose that a shift in perception or creativity can empower us to attain these resources. And this attainment process is just a second of a single decision away.

Sounds abstract and cool? Just read it again. Be wow-ed! 🙂

Principle #9

Non-imposition. Don’t impose these principles on anyone else

We presuppose that the abovementioned presuppositions are just part of our map of the world. We cannot expect that just because that is the way we think, other people (should) think the same automatically.


Damn easy.

Some homework

Whohooo! That was fun! Let’s practice!

Contine your ROSA schedule. As mentioned we recommend to meet up once every 10-14 days or more often.

When doing so:

  • For counsellors and counselleees: Just see if any of these principles pop up. If you have questions arising, feel free to share your observations, questions and insights after your ROSA session

Stay tuned, the next session is coming soon!