My immediate supervisor’s name was Ann.  She was a step ahead of me in grad school—thus qualified to assess my progress as a counselor-in- training.

Lively and outgoing—impish looking with her short gray hair and a petite figure—Ann she looked unusually stern as I stepped into her cubby hole of an office.

I hadn’t had much contact with Ann throughout my weeks of training—she viewed all my sessions behind the one-way mirror—but never said much—so I wasn’t sure what she wanted.

She waved to the chair in front of her desk.  As I sat down, Ann got right to the point.

“Well,” she said.  “You had something to say in that last counseling session, and you said it. You weren’t listening to what Cindy had to say.”

Being a good listener is one of the hallmarks of a good counselor or therapist.  At my final session with my client Cindy, I’d decided to give her a few pointers for ongoing roommate problems.

And so I did.

Talking—instead of listening—was one of the unforgivable sins—the high crime—of new counselors. What had I been thinking?

Ann did not look happy.  “Next time, keep your mouth shut and listen,” she said curtly.

At this point I burst into tears.  All the pressures of the last few years—taking the step to go back to school—poured out as if they had a will of their own.

I couldn’t stop crying.

Was the word “failure” stamped across my forehead?





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