Chronicles of a Counselor

In the mid seventies, I received a brochure regarding the Charles C. Chatham Counseling Course. Since I was having a difficult time dealing with people after the CCIM classes, I thought the learning “consulting” would help. And thus I signed up for the three-day class in a mid-western city not knowing that I wouldn’t learn consulting.

I recall that on the afternoon of the second day, I passed my yellow note pad to the person on my left so they could read the word “bull-” on the margin. We exchanged smiles. That evening, the class was to role-play and implement the techniques Mr. Chatham was teaching. The group counted off 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, and then regrouped by these numbers. The one’s were to be counselors asking questions of the two’s who were client applicants. These folks were given a set of circumstances some of which they volunteered to the counselor, and some data was only revealed if the counselor asked. They were to tell the truth. The third group was observers. After each session, the students rotated so that each had a chance to be in every role.

In the first session, I was a client applicant – now my chance to show this doesn’t work. Well, it turned out that the counselor was able to get all the information necessary to determine my situation and suggest potential solutions for me to consider. I lost this one, but I’ll make it up now that I was to be the counselor. Surprise, surprise, the counselor was again successful!

The same was true throughout the room! I witnessed this phenomenon again during my time as the observer.

My life changed that night as I began to become a counselor. I remember telling a classmate that I was flying home – and I didn’t even need a plane!

On the ride home from the airport, I stopped in a store to buy a new suit. After making a selection, I asked, “How can I get this cheaper? The clerk replied that they were going on sale the next day at 25% off. “Can you write it up with tomorrow’s date, because I can’t come back tomorrow?” The reply was negative. “Is there a manager here tonight?” The clerk returned with the manager who showed him how to handle the sale and get me the discount.

Wow, I’m already making money using counseling!

Editor’s note: This is part one of a six part series submitted by Bill Warr.

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