As America turns its eyes on basketball once again, there is a character trait that NCAA college basketball players display that every counselor and counselee needs to develop, persistence. In the Elite Eight game played on 3/27/11, both the University of Kentucky (UK) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) displayed awesome persistence in reaching the goal of winning the game. Though UK lead the majority of the game, UNC brought the game to a tie with two minutes to go. For UK fans, it was a nail biting two minutes. For UNC fans, it was a time of joy and relief. One of the UNC players was not about to give up and admit defeat, still playing his hardest until the game ended. UK's persistence paid off in the form of a win, however, as they did not get discouraged even when it seemed like UNC might pull through. This trip to the Final Four has been something that UK fans have been waiting 13 years for. They have supported and cheered this team on each year and are finally seeing their beloved team back on top.
This brings to mind the persistence that counselors and counselees have to have. Through all of the lessons and books we have had to read, one thing that has become clear is that healing is a hard fought battle that is not reached over night. As counselors, we cannot give up on our clients even when there seems to be no hope. If we give up, the client gives up and that can only lead to despair. A basketball game is never won if the team gives up and quits trying. A counselee will never be able to stop coming to counseling session because they are no longer needed if he and the counselor gives up. There are many different therapeutic options out there to help clients; it is the counselor and counselee's job to come up with a game plan that will work.
We all need perseverance in life. Especially right now as I am in grad school and studying, it can get overwhelming and tiring. Sometimes it is easy as students to feel that if we read another word or have to write another sentence we are going to scream, however, we have to press on. I am not sure who first said it, but the saying goes "Anything good doesn't come easy." Helping a person get over psychological issues in their life and live a better emotional life is not going to be easy. I have talked with people before trying to help them and have felt like I am on the front lines of a battle, almost standing toe-to-toe with an enemy. That intensity can be draining, but both the counselor and the counselee has to press through if the goal of counseling is going to be met.
The next time you see and add for this years NCAA basketball tournament, think about the persistence that those players put into each game and remind yourself that persistence is the only way something is going to get done.