54 Inspiring Counseling Quotes to Motivate Counselors

Quotes about counselingMotivation is critical in counseling for both the counselor and the client.

Quotes can help focus and facilitate a mindset conducive to creating therapeutic bonds and working towards positive treatment outcomes.

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8 Famous Counseling Quotes

The following quotes are taken from well-known and valuable academic sources and highly skilled counseling professionals. Each one offers insight for the novice and experienced counselor alike and attempts to bring clarity to their role and the overall therapeutic process:


Understanding why people suffer, how they change, and how to help them live more satisfying and gratifying lives is a fascinating, huge, and important undertaking.

(Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2015, p. 2)Sommers-Flanagan 2

Early treatments for human distress and disturbance typically consisted of a combination of biomedical, spiritual, psychosocial, and feminist-indigenous procedures.

(Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2015, p. 4)

Ewan Gillion

Counselling psychologists are constantly invited to reflect on their practice as inevitable series of contesting possibilities, rather than a series of rights and wrongs.

(Gillon, 2007, p. 3)

J. William Worden

Counseling involves helping people facilitate uncomplicated, or normal, grief to a healthy adaptation to the tasks of mourning within a reasonable time frame.

(Worden, 2018, p. 83)

Ewan Gillion 2

The most significant construct underpinning [Carl] Rogers’ theory of personality is that each human being has an inherent, biological tendency toward growth and development.

(Gillon, 2007, p. 27)

Richard Nelson-Jones

Attempts to differentiate between counselling and psychotherapy are never wholly successful. Both represent diverse rather than integrated knowledge and activities, so it is more accurate to think of counselling approaches and psychological therapies.

(Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 4)

Jeff Cochran and Nancy Cochran

We know from experience and the growing body of supportive literature […] that the therapeutic relationship a counselor forms with each client can be the most powerful tool for helping clients change.

(Cochran & Cochran, 2015, p. ix)

Sommers-Flanagan 3

All treatments that address human suffering should be rigorously evaluated to determine their effectiveness.

(Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2015, p. 10)

8 Inspiring Phrases for Your Practice

The counselor aims to bring empathy, congruence, and unconditional regard to their engagement with clients. Each is interlinked and part of a whole, working towards successful client outcomes (Gillon, 2007).

The following phrases offer inspiration to counselors and their practices, guiding their focus and interactions with clients:

Jeff Cochran and Nancy Cochran 2

Rather than particular techniques, the far greater predictors of positives outcomes are therapeutic relationships, or counselor qualities in therapeutic relationships that capitalize on clients’ internal strengths.

(Cochran & Cochran, 2015, p. 7)

Richard Nelson-Jones 2

Life teaches most people to be wary of being taken advantage of. In face of clients’ inevitable mistrust, trainees need to establish their credentials of honesty, integrity and reliability.

(Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 83)

Ewan Gillion 3

It is the client’s capacity to perceive the communication of the therapist’s empathy and unconditional positive regard that is stressed as also a necessity for therapeutic change to occur.

(Gillon, 2007, p. 58)

Goodell, Sudderth, and Allan

If you acknowledge your biases, both you and your clients have the opportunity for growth. When we do not acknowledge our biases, we rob our clients and ourselves of the potential for change.

(Goodell et al., 2011, p. 27)

Richard Nelson-Jones 3

Most counsellors would regard the counselling relationship as neither sufficient in itself nor sufficiently expeditious in its outcome for constructive client changes to occur. Consequently, they set store by a set of interventions in addition to the counselling relationship.

(Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 9)

Jeff Cochran and Nancy Cochran 3

While you, as counselor, may become relaxed and more at ease in the work, you must continue to feel and respond to your clients’ emotion with active compassion. The best and most efficient counseling is ‘heartfelt’.

(Cochran & Cochran, 2015, p. 1)

Richard Nelson-Jones 4

Counsellors may have different goals with different clients. They may assist clients, for instance, to heal past emotional deprivations, manage current problems, handle transitions, make decisions, manage crises, and develop specific lifeskills.

 (Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 10)

J. William Worde 2

The tasks of mourning are mediated not only by who the deceased was but also by the nature of the survivor’s attachment to the person.

(Worden, 2018, p. 58)

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For Positive Counselors

The word therapy can invoke thoughts of something broken that needs fixing. Yet, this isn’t always the case; counselors using positive psychology approaches and techniques go beyond what’s gone wrong and explore where clients want to be and the strengths needed to get there (Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011).

The following four quotes highlight the impact of using positive psychology in counseling:

Robert Biswas-Diener

Positive psychology looks at what is right with people, focuses on when people are at their best, and attends to individual and group flourishing.

(Biswas-Diener, 2010, p. 5)


The underlying principles are that therapy shouldn’t just focus on diagnosing and treating disorder, maladjustment, suffering, etc. […] Therapy should recognize, use and build a patient’s existing strengths and resources rather than view the client as flawed and disordered.

(Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011, p. 233)

Robert Biswas-Diener 2

Positive interventions are ways of working with people where the focus is not on alleviating pain or restoring a person to normal functioning from substandard function, but, rather, on promoting superior functioning.

(Biswas-Diener, 2010, p. 5)

Fredrike Bannink

The focus of positive CBT is not on mental illness and pathology, on what is wrong with clients and on repairing what is worst, but on mental health and strengths, what is right with them and on creating what is best.

(Bannink, 2017, p. 17)


12 Essential quotes for healing, recovery, and good mental health

Quotes for School Counselors and Students

School counselors must be committed to educational equity, social justice, and positive youth development.

As such, we should be providing the theory, skills, and school counseling tools to support them as they “help students become effective citizens in a democratic and pluralistic society” (Coleman & Yeh, 2011, p. xxvii).

The following quotes reflect this positive approach and the potential school counselors have to make a difference in students’ lives:

John Schmidt

The exact beginning of the counseling profession is unknown, but its roots may be found in a range of helping relationships that have spanned cultures and societies throughout the ages.

(Schmidt, 2008, p. 3)

Nancy Bodenhorn

More than any other area of the school counseling program, the responsibility for personal/social development is in the realm of the entire school staff.

(Bodenhorn, 2008, p. 209)

Robert Wright

The emergence of strength-based school counseling has provided school counselors with a highly effective tool for providing successful interventions in school settings.

 (Wright, 2012, p. 184)

Robert Wright 2

A new direction for school counselors is in working within a virtual school. The online world is changing old rules about the delivery of counseling services for many students today.

(Wright, 2012, p. 185)

6 Career Counseling Phrases

Career counseling and general counseling share a great deal, and skills and techniques learned in one can be practiced in the other (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2017).

The following phrases offer insight into this valuable area of counseling and should prompt further thought:


Analyses indicate that career counseling is effective in strengthening career decision-making confidence, lessening career indecision, bolstering secondary school student engagement, and increasing work satisfaction.

(Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2017, p. 201)

Niles-Bowlsbey 2

Career counselors offering counseling-based career assistance do not view their clients as the problem and the counselor as the solution. Rather, they seek to empower clients to articulate their experiences, clarify their self-concepts, and construct their own lives.

(Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2017, p. 205)

Jennifer Kidd

The problems clients present career counsellors with often overlap with deeper personal concerns, and as the counselling process unfolds these emerge, complicating the initial picture.

(Kidd, 2006, p. 1)

Jennifer Kidd 2

The essence of the person-centred approach is that the most important influence on the progress made in the counselling session is the relationship between the counsellor and the client.

(Kidd, 2006, p. 52)


However, we believe it naive and unrealistic to help clients solve their career problems without allowing them to see the wider ramifications of their situation.

(Nathan & Hill, 2006, p. 13)

Nathan-Hill 2

Everyone has their own individual flaws and blocks, and career counsellors should receive appropriate individual or group supervision to ensure that these do not adversely affect their work.

(Nathan & Hill, 2006, p. 141)

Marriage and Relationship Counseling Quotes

Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that treating the individual alone may not be sufficient for lasting change and that issues left unfixed can surface in the next generation. Therefore, it is paramount that relationship issues in couples and families are addressed in-situ (Metcalf, 2011).

The following quotes reinforce the view that we often need to address issues within the system to address the needs of the individual:


Individuals are tied to one another by powerful, durable, reciprocal, multigenerational emotional attachments and loyalties that may fluctuate in intensity and psychological distance between members over time yet persist over the lifetime of the family.

(Goldenberg, & Goldenberg, 2013, p. 1)

Goldenberg-Goldenberg 2

It no longer is realistic to speak of a typical American family, since contemporary life is filled with families with differing living arrangements, styles of living, and organizational patterns.

(Goldenberg, & Goldenberg, 2013, p. 3)

Linda Metcalf

As family therapists, we make sense of what we do through systems theory. Systems theory focuses on the relationship between parts.

(Metcalf, 2011, p. 5)

Linda Metcalf 2

In all families, whether they are a single mother with a child, a heterosexual family with children, a homosexual family with an adopted child or biological child, or a family with foster children, each family member is part of the family system, sending out and receiving communication.

(Metcalf, 2011, p. 6)

Goodell, Sudderth, and Allan 2

Within family therapy, a theory will guide and influence your work with families, and the direction therapy will travel. Inevitably, there will come a time when a therapist will be unsure about which path to take with a family. At that time, it should be the therapist’s theory that will determine the next step.

(Goodell et al., 2011, p. 21–22)

A Look at 7 Carl Rogers Quotes

Modern therapy owes much to the work of Carl Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology. Indeed, in 1967, when he first published ‘On Becoming a Person,’ he sold millions of copies and received national recognition (Nelson-Jones, 2005).

The following quotes offer deeper insights into the man and the books behind the theories:

Carl Rogers

There is one final reason for putting out this book, a motive which means a great deal to me. It has to do with the great, in fact the desperate, need of our times for more basic knowledge and more competent skills in dealing with the tensions in human relationships.

(Rogers, 1995b, p. X)

Carl Rogers 2

Man’s awesome scientific advances into the infinitude of space as well as the infinitude of sub-atomic particles seems most likely to lead to the total destruction of our world unless we can make great advances in understanding and dealing with interpersonal and intergroup tension.

(Rogers, 1995b, p. X)

Carl Rogers 3

This book is about the suffering and the hope, the anxiety and the satisfaction, with which each therapist’s counseling room is filled.

(Rogers, 1995b, p. 4)

Carl Rogers 4

In my early professional years I was asking the question, How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?

(Rogers, 1995b, p. 32)

Carl Rogers 5

So I have learned to ask myself, can I hear the sounds and sense the shape of this other person’s inner world? Can I resonate to what he is saying so deeply that I sense the meanings he is afraid of yet would like to communicate, as well as those he knows?

(Rogers, 1995a, p. 8)

Carl Rogers 6

I feel enriched when I can truly prize or care for or love another person and when I can let that feeling flow out to that person.

(Rogers, 1995a, p. 20)

Carl Rogers 7

The therapeutic interview also offered a chance of becoming close without having to go through what was to me a long and painful process of gradual and deepening acquaintance.

(Rogers, 1995a, p. 34)

Motivational Quotes on Counseling Skills

A competent counselor requires a deep theoretical understanding of their therapeutic approaches, comprehensive skills, and far-reaching experience (Nelson-Jones, 2014).

The following quotes point to some of the most essential areas for counselor skill development, such as communication, developing strong therapeutic alliances, and deep empathy for their clients:

Richard-Nelson Jones

The essential element of any skill is the ability to implement sequences of choices to achieve objectives.

(Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 18)

Richard Nelson-Jones 5

They must be prepared to see that all humans, including themselves, need to develop and maintain good mind skills and communication/action skills.

(Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 71-72)

Richard Nelson-Jones 6

Their work is based on a mainly positive view of human nature, which nonetheless acknowledges that biological, social learning and environmental circumstances contribute greatly to people maintaining poor lifeskills.

(Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 72)

Michela Rimondini

The healing process is mainly based on the combinations of words that allow the sharing of values, beliefs, feelings, and perceptions between two or more people.

(Rimondini, 2011, p. 1)

Michela Rimondini 2

All patients, independent of the setting, present as basic expectations the desire to be listened to, understood, helped, and possibly healed.

(Rimondini, 2011, p. 7)

7 Quotes About Humanistic Counseling

The humanistic approach to psychology developed in the 1960s and 70s and led to the recognition that counseling should not solely focus on cognition or the impact of the environment, but instead on human experience (Gillon, 2007).

The following quotes offer further insights into humanistic psychology and counseling and its influences on positive psychology:


Positive psychology could be described as an effort to revive some of the agenda that had mobilized humanistic psychologists in the middle of the 20th century.

(Csikszentmihalyi, 2006, p. 5)

Ewan Gillion 4

In many ways, humanistic psychology was a reaction to these two forces, rejecting the Freudian emphasis on destructive, unconscious urges and the over-simplified, laboratory based analyses provided by behaviourism.

(Gillon, 2007, p. 88)

Richard Nelson-Jones 7

Humanistic approaches like Gestalt therapy help clients obtain useful skills outside therapy, for instance greater awareness of feelings and physical sensations.

(Nelson-Jones, 2005, p. 65)

Sommers-Flanagan 4

Person-centered therapy is an optimistic, humanistic, and phenomenological approach to therapy. Person-centered theory posits that each individual has within him- or herself a capacity for dramatic and positive growth.

(Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2015, p. 32-33)

Sommers-Flanagan 5

Consistent with the existential-humanistic tradition, person-centered therapists don’t believe it’s possible for one individual to directly know and experience another individual’s feelings.

 (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2015, p. 169)

John Rowan

Humanistic psychology is particularly concerned with self-actualization and with body–mind unity […]. People in this orientation are very concerned about human diminution, and the way in which social roles can diminish people.

 (Rowan, 2016, p. 1)

John Rowan 2

Self-actualization is all about being that self which I truly am, and the notion of the real self is central to humanistic psychology […] The person-centred approach is one of the central disciplines within humanistic psychology, and is still being developed today.

(Rowan, 2016, p. 2)

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A Take-Home Message

Undoubtedly, counseling helps many clients face existing, past, and future problems that leave them emotionally upset or unable to cope.

Counselors adopt many theories and approaches, yet most agree that building a solid and varied base of skills and a deep theoretical understanding of counseling is essential for positive client outcomes.

The quotes within this article are not, on their own, sufficient to teach the counselor new or additional skills. Yet, they provide a series of signposts left by highly skilled academics and counseling professionals that have spent years of their lives dedicated to a craft that changes the lives of others.

For those quotes that offer you the most inspiration or a degree of enlightenment, check out the references at the end of this article and see what other knowledge, skills, and insights the authors have to offer.

After all, counseling is ultimately not an end but a journey for both counselor and client.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free.


  • Bannink, F. (2017). Positive CBT in practice. In C. Proctor (Ed.), Positive psychology interventions in practice (pp. 15–28). Springer.
  • Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Practicing positive psychology coaching: Assessment, activities, and strategies for success. Wiley.
  • Bodenhorn, N. (2008). Facilitating personal and social development. In H. L. K. Coleman & C. Yeh (Eds.), Handbook of school counseling (pp. 209–218). Routledge.
  • Cochran, J. L., & Cochran, N. H. (2015). The heart of counseling: Counseling skills through therapeutic relationships (2nd ed.). Routledge.
  • Coleman, H., & Yeh, C. (2011). Facilitating Personal and Social Development. In C. Yeh (Authors), Handbook of School Counseling (pp. 209-218). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2006). Introduction. In M. Csikszentmihalyi & I. S. Csikszentmihalyi (Eds.), A life worth living: Contributions to positive psychology (pp. 3–14). Oxford University Press.
  • Gillon, E. (2007). Person-centred counselling psychology: An introduction. Sage.
  • Goldenberg, I., & Goldenberg, H. (2013). Family therapy: An overview (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.
  • Goodell, K. A., Sudderth, B. G., & Allan, C. D. (2011). The self of the therapist. In L. Metcalf (Ed.), Marriage and family therapy: A practice-oriented approach (pp. 21–38). Springer.
  • Hefferon, K., & Boniwell, I. (2011). Positive psychology: Theory, research and applications. Open University Press.
  • Kidd, J. M. (2006). Understanding career counselling: Theory, research and practice. Sage.
  • Metcalf, L. (2011). The practice of marriage and family therapy. In L. Metcalf (Ed.), Marriage and family therapy: A practice-oriented approach (pp. 1–20). Springer.
  • Nathan, R., & Hill, L. A. (2006). Career counselling (2nd ed.). Sage.
  • Nelson-Jones, R. (2005). Practical counselling and helping skills (5th ed.). Sage.
  • Nelson-Jones, R. (2014). Practical counselling and helping skills (6th ed.). Sage.
  • Niles, S. G., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (2005). Career development interventions in the 21st century. Pearson.
  • Niles, S. G., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (2017). Career development interventions (5th ed.). Pearson.
  • Rimondini, M. (2011). Background theories and main systems of analysis of communication in cognitive-behavioral therapy. In M. Rimondini (Ed.), Communication in cognitive behavioral therapy (pp. 1–24). Springer.
  • Rogers, C. R. (1995a). A way of being. Houghton Mifflin. (Original work published 1980)
  • Rogers, C. R. (1995b). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Houghton Mifflin. (Original work published 1961)
  • Rowan, J. (2016). The reality game: A guide to humanistic counselling and psychotherapy (3rd ed.). Routledge.
  • Schmidt, J. (2008). History of school counseling. In H. L. K. Coleman & C. Yeh (Eds.), Handbook of school counseling (pp. 3–13). Routledge.
  • Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2015). Counseling and psychotherapy theories in context and practice: Skills, strategies, and techniques (2nd ed.). Wiley.
  • Worden, J. W. (2018). Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner (5th ed.). Springer.
  • Wright, R. J. (2012). Introduction to school counseling. Sage.


What our readers think

  1. Kunywana Robinah

    I have been inspired by the quarts here . I needed this inspiration so as to inspire others also.
    I’m a born again christian leader of Ebenezer fellowship in Uganda. A ministry that God started Himself in my house when i had lost my dear husband and when i thought the pain of the loss would kill me with my three children.
    I have since learned that God is a friend closer than we can imagine when we are doing well in all areas.
    Am soon retiring from the service of a government entity . I do a lot of counselling of the heart broken especially among the youths, marrieds etc.


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