Perhaps the Most Important Goal of Counseling

Perhaps the most important goal of counseling is to help people to train themselves to feel helpful feelings rather than unhelpful feelings. I cannot emphasize how important a goal this really is. You see, Cognitive Behavioral Theory is one of the most respected, validated and used theories of counseling. One of its teachings is that your thoughts cause your feelings, and your feelings cause your actions. Therefore, if you are able to train yourself to feel helpful feelings, those helpful feelings will translate into helpful actions, which means you will have a happier life.

What are helpful feelings? As Muslims, our main goal is to please Allah (swt), to worship and serve Him. Therefore, feelings that lead us to being better Muslims are helpful to us. Therefore, when you are feeling an unhelpful feeling such as sadness, frustration, etc., you must train yourself to replace it with a helpful feeling, such as calmness, hope, gratitude, faith, and peace. An important step is to be more aware of your feelings and to accept your negative feelings. Denying your feelings is not helpful. Once you accept your feelings, you are able to face them with honesty. The way that you replace negative feelings is to find a thought that genuinely makes you feel better. Keep thinking of replacement thoughts (to replace the negative thought that caused your negative feeling) and when you find a thought that genuinely makes you feel better (calmer, stronger, etc.) then you just learned to train yourself to feel helpful feelings.

An important point is that you must care about and value yourself enough to want to feel helpful feelings. Do you care about yourself? Do you value yourself as a worthwhile human being? If your answer to these questions is not a resounding YES then you must teach yourself to become your own best friend. You must respect yourself enough to work towards this important goal of counseling: to train yourself to feel helpful feelings rather than unhelpful feelings.

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