Recently I went to see a counselor, the reasons for which are inconsequential and entirely anti-climactic. I like to do health-checks on the state of my spirit and mind as much as I’m committed to maintaining a healthy body.

As I sat there speaking with this very wise woman, I kept thinking about the vast benefits of spending a little time with a professional counselor (my counselor friend Lucille is applauding right now). As a writer, I spend a lot of time alone, delving into the deep and dark places of my messy soul and complicated scenarios. It can get a little creepy. At the same time, the better I unravel myself, the better I’m able to both communicate and connect with my reader. Which is why I believe every good writer should be in therapy.

Okay, before you call me crazy, I’m fully aware of the fact that this is an over-generalized, blanket statement. But hear me out. There is a reason why I believe your writing–my writing–could benefit from time in someone’s leather chair. Actually, many reasons. Here are a few:

  1. To understand yourself more fully than you think you do
  2. To identify inaccuracies in your self-perception
  3. To eliminate any “blocks” to artistic beauty and creativity
  4. To more deeply understand, empathize, and connect with your reader
  5. To better understand complex issues like redemption, forgiveness, attachments, boundaries, and relationships, all of which can be the framework for an article, non-fiction book, or novel.
  6. To develop complex, intriguing and life-like characters. Without this, writers end up creating plastic characters who are probably much like the persona they portray. We like to make ourselves look better than we are, piecing ourselves together into something that is entirely uninspiring and about an inch deep. Characters like that don’t sell books, and they certainly don’t change readers’ lives.

Maybe counseling isn’t for you. I had one bad counseling experience that almost made me toss the entire concept (and her fine leather couch) out the window. I get that. So what about a mentor or life coach? Both can accomplish similar results under a different title.

How about you? Has counseling (mentoring, coaching) helped you become a better writer or musician or lover or friend?

(pic courtesy of lotushead, stock.xchng)

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