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What is Counseling?

It is difficult to define.

People have many differing ideas of what counseling is. For example, some people believe it is going to someone to get life advice. Some believe it is a quick fix to a problem they are having. Others believe it is a time to vent about an issue, work through a problem, or process a traumatic event they have experienced. All these definitions have some truth to it, but they do not tell the whole story!

I believe the best way to describe counseling is through a metaphor.


The dictionary defines a metaphor as "a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract." Basically, it is using a known concept to describe an abstract concept. As an adjunct professor and clinical supervisor, I help each student and new therapist come up with a metaphor to describe how they view counseling.

My Counseling Metaphor

As a therapist, I have created and refined my metaphor. I see counseling as a journey.

In 2021, my husband (Matt) and I joined a group of people to run/hike from the south rim to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. That is around 23 miles and about 5000 feet of elevation change. As we began this journey, I knew I did not know the way. However, Matt did! He had taken this journey before and he knew how to get to the other side. (Not to mention, he has better navigation skills than me.)

As we crossed the Grand Canyon, he stayed to my side, but behind me. At 6'2" he is about a foot taller than me. While, in my mind I am over 5'9", I am actually around 5'2". This means he hikes much faster than me, so he let me set the pace. I led while he was the guide. His job was to make sure I did not get hurt, fall off the side, get bit by an animal, or slip into the Colorado River. He also made sure I did not get dehydrated and I ate enough food. I made it across feeling good. Even though it was a difficult journey, it was made doable by having a guide.

How does this relate to counseling?

Counseling is a journey where you, as a client lead, and set the pace! While you lead, the therapist gently guides you to the other side, making sure you get what you need, you do not lose your way, you do not get dysregulated, and you rest when needed.

What next?

Our therapists, at Tabonuco, have taken this journey before, leading many people through the metaphorical canyon. We are well trained for this "hike!" If you are ready to begin your counseling journey, for you or your child, contact us at or call us at 980-403-9161! We are ready to help you make your personal journey across your personal canyon.

Also, follow us on Facebook for new blogs and exciting happenings at Tabonuco!

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