63 Inspiring Counseling Quotes and Do They Ring True?

Counseling QuotesEloquent and meaningful quotes have inspired people since ancient times.

Quotes cover a wide range of topics, and many are focused on psychology, wellness, counseling, and the pursuit of happiness.

Some quotes are powerful motivators, or, in the words of Polish author Tadeusz Borowski, “What a curious power words have” (Goodreads). And with modern technology, quotes are more accessible than ever before.

This article will highlight some particularly poignant and often famous quotes related to counseling. Given the power and breadth of quotes in general, we will dig a little deeper and explore the truth behind those displayed here. After all, no matter its eloquence, a quote is only as good as the truth it conveys.

7 Famous Counseling Quotes

Famous Counseling Quotes

 

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Eleanor Roosevelt (Goodreads; GR)

If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.

Abraham Lincoln (Brainyquote; BQ)

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Confucius (BQ)

Lose not yourself in a far off time, seize the moment that is thine.

Friedrich Schiller (BQ)

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.

Benjamin Franklin (BQ)

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

Henry Ford (BQ)

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

George Bernard Shaw (BQ)

Do these quotes ring true? Yes! For example, Franklin’s words convey the importance of gratitude. Positive psychologists concur, as gratitude is related to optimism, resilience, and other positive emotions (Young & Hutchinson, 2012). Additionally, lack of gratitude is linked to increased depression and stress. These ideas also are in synch with Confucius’s quote about the power of resilience.

Loving-kindness counseling seeks to promote connected relationships by enhancing acceptance, openness to other perspectives, and awareness of the present moment (Leppma, 2012); ideas expressed by Schiller and Ford. This counseling approach, along with quotes by Lincoln and Roosevelt, conveys the importance of self-care (e.g., not allowing others to diminish one’s self-esteem).

Shaw seems to be expressing the value of viewing difficult family experiences as colorful, positive, and amusing. Along with the benefits of a positive outlook, humor also has been linked to positive counseling processes and outcomes (Vereen, Butler, & Williams et al., 2006).

Read further regarding the Benefits of Counseling, for discussions on this topic.

 

7 Inspiring Phrases for your Practice

J.K. Rowling

 

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

J. K. Rowling (BQ)

We accept the love we think we deserve.

Stephen Chbosky (GR)

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Anaïs Nin (GR)*

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

Mark Twain

I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.

Susan B. Anthony (BQ)

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Maya Angelou (BQ)

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou (BQ)

These quotes contain immense wisdom and truth. For example, caring, compassionate, and empathetic connections with others are important aspects of meaningful relationships, including within helping professions (Miller, 2018).

These ideas are beautifully articulated in Angelou’s second quote. Additionally, self-esteem and self-regulation of emotions (e.g., anger), are known to promote resilience (Toland & Carrigan, 2011); themes inherent in quotes by Chbosky and Twain.

Embracing strength in women, as expressed by Anthony, is also fundamental to relationships characterized by cooperation and autonomy (McBride, 1990).

Again, resilience, which is so essential for happiness (Young and Hutchinson, 2012), is expressed by Rowling. She conveys the critical message that living with meaning and contentment is only possible when we continue to move forward regardless of prior failures.

The sage advice of accepting others is also noted in the words of Angelo (first quote). Finally, there is wisdom in Nin’s words about understanding that our perceptions and emotions are filtered through our experiences. These words are encouraging, as they imply that the power to change our beliefs is within each of us.

 

For Positive Counselors

Frances Hodgson Burnett

 

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.

Frances Hodgson Burnett (GR)

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.

Epictetus (GR)

Do not set aside your happiness. Do not wait to be happy in the future. The best time to be happy is always now.

Roy T. Bennett (GR)

The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

Mark Twain (BQ)

More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.

Roy T. Bennett (GR)

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.

Eleanor Roosevelt (BQ)

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

William Shakespeare (BQ)

These quotes truthfully reflect the concerns of positive counselors for whom helping individuals to flourish and enjoy positive wellbeing are prominent objectives. Positive counseling also focuses on the promotion of strength, resilience, and human potential (Raskin, Rogers, & Witty, 2014)—qualities articulated by Roosevelt and Shakespeare.

In general, theses quotes encourage a positive outlook in which the world is viewed through an optimistic lens, or in the words of Burnett, “as a garden.” Similarly, Epictetus, Bennett, and Twain understand the importance of acceptance, seizing the moment, and laughter as essential tools for living a good life—one of the underlying tenets of positive psychology (Compton, 2005).

 

Quotes for School Counselors and Students

Margaret Mead

 

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.

Margaret Mead (GR)

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Aristotle (BQ)

We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.

Galileo Galilei (BQ)

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.

Lou Holtz (BQ)

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.

George R.R. Martin (GR)

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Albert Einstein (GR)

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela (BQ)

These lovely quotes represent excellent tools for school counselors, educators, and students of all ages. They express the power of positive education to promote a life well-lived, and even to change the world (e.g., Mandela).

Quotes by Einstein and Holtz convey many of the same constructs that are important to educational psychologists, such as nourishing creativity and guiding students in reaching their potential (Tsai, 2012).

Similarly, Holtz’s words regarding the value of ability, motivation, and attitude are consistent with positive psychologists’ emphasis on perseverance as a predictor of academic success (Laursen, 2015).

Critical thinking, as expressed by Aristotle, Meade, and Galilei, is another key predictor of school success among children (White, 2010). Lastly, Martin’s quote conveying the power of reading is easily supported by research demonstrating many educational benefits of reading (e.g., Cox & Guthrie, 2001).

 

7 Career Counseling Phrases

Sheryl Sandberg Counseling Quotes for Careers

 

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Sheryl Sandberg (GR)

You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Roy T. Bennett (GR)

The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (GR)

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

Eleanor Roosevelt (GR)

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (GR)

The goal, then, is to uncouple fear and failure—to create an environment in which making mistakes doesn’t strike terror into your employees’ hearts.

Ed Catmull (GR)

He who masters the power formed by a group of people working together has within his grasp one of the greatest powers known to man.

Idowu Koyenikan (GR)

Career development research is consistent with quotes by both Bennett and Sandberg, in which courage is expressed as necessary for achieving career growth and satisfaction (e.g., Walston, 2003). Career development writers also stress the importance of deriving meaning and happiness from one’s work (Scott, 2008; Walston, 2003); ideas echoed by Emerson.

Roosevelt and Catmull speak to the vital role of inspiring leaders who foster productive and satisfying work environments. They suggest a leadership style that involves the use of both head and heart, without eliciting the fear of making mistakes; ideas that are in synch with academic writing of courageous leadership (Walston, 2003).

Finally, a healthy collaborative style that promotes cooperation, trust, and commitment are also fundamental to career success (Williams, 2012), as expressed by Koyenican.

 

Marriage and Relationship Counseling Quotes

Friedrich Nietzsche Counseling Quotes for Relationships

 

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.

Friedrich Nietzsche (GR)

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu (GR)

I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.

Steve Maraboli, (GR)

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.

Friedrich Nietzsche (GR)

Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

George Bernard Shaw (BQ)

Every couple needs to argue now and then. Just to prove that the relationship is strong enough to survive. Long-term relationships, the ones that matter, are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys.

Nicholas Sparks (GR)

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

Ernest Hemingway (GR)

There are many truthful concepts conveyed in these marriage and relationship quotes. As a whole, they express the importance of trust, acceptance, friendship, identity, courage, resilience, and communication in cultivating meaningful relationships.

In her extensive study of the key ingredients of satisfying relationships, Wallerstein (2017) similarly describes these and other related constructs. More specifically, she notes that satisfying marriages are not without conflict or anger, but involve the ability to establish meaningful connections within the context of everyday relationship challenges.

Inherent in such relationships is the ability to communicate effectively and retain friendship—ideas that are especially congruent with the words of Shaw and Nietzsche (second quote).

Wallerstein (2017) further notes that happy couples can weather storms together, as well as recognize and value each person’s identity—as indicated by Sparks and Hemingway.

Other studies also have reported that the core qualities of marital satisfaction include compassion, humility, and positivity (e.g., Wallace, Olson, & Galovan et al., 2016)—concepts which ring true throughout these relationship quotes.

 

A Look at 7 Carl Rogers’ Quotes

Carl Rogers Counseling Quotes

 

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. (GR)

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?’ (GR)

People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a bit on the right-hand corner.’ I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds. (GR)

When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it’s like to be me. (GR)

True empathy is always free of any evaluative or diagnostic quality. This comes across to the recipient with some surprise. If I am not being judged, perhaps I am not so evil or abnormal as I have thought. (GR)

A person is a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change, not a block of solid material; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits. (GR)

I’m not perfect… But I’m enough. (GR)

Client-centered therapy promotes a safe climate in which the therapist is both empathetic and nonjudgmental (Raskin et al., 2014).

In this way, the client experiences a sense of acceptance, openness, and unconditional positive regard. It is an approach that is consistent with the ever-changing nature of the human experience in which individuals are continually striving to feel and do better.

These ideas are clearly conveyed in Carl Rogers’ quotes in which the therapist’s role is to guide clients in a non-authoritarian, accepting way; to see the beauty within them; and to truly listen with empathy, openness, and flexibility. It is in this way that self-acceptance and -worth are enhanced during the therapeutic relationship (Raskin et al., 2014).

 

Motivational Quotes on Counseling Skills

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Motivational Counseling Quotes

 

I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (BQ)

Listening is active. At its most basic level, it’s about focus, paying attention.

Simon Sinek (BQ)

Slouching or leaning back may send the wrong signals. When you sit down for a formal interview, lean forward to show interest and active listening.

Kathryn Minshew (BQ)

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Dalai Lama (BQ)

Anyone who is practicing understanding and compassion can exemplify true power. Anyone can be a Buddha.

Thich Nhat Hanh (BQ)

No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Theodore Roosevelt (GR)

I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.

Roger Ebert (GR)

These motivational quotes again elucidate the essential counseling qualities of active listening, along with the expression of both empathy and compassion.

Active listening is often described as one of the most critical skills of a good counselor. This involves listening with purpose and responding in a way in which clients feel understood (Stebnicki, 2011).

This type of listening also has been described as the ability to perceive and communicate the client’s feelings in an empathetic and sensitive way (Miller, 2018)—ideas articulated by Ebert, Roosevelt, Hanh, Dalai Lama, Ginsberg, and Sinek.

Additionally, Minshew describes the importance of body language as a way of showing deep listening and interest, which is similarly noted by Stebnicki (2011). Other aspects of truth in these quotes, such as the value of establishing respectful client-therapist relationships in which the client’s resilience is appreciated, are reiterated within the counseling literature (Stebnicki, 2011).

 

7 Quotes about Humanistic Counseling

Daisaku Ikeda Humanistic Counseling Quotes

 

It is impossible to build one’s own happiness on the unhappiness of others. This perspective is at the heart of Buddhist teachings.

Daisaku Ikeda (GR)

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Mahatma Gandhi (GR)

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.’

Mother Teresa (GR)

I’m inspired by the people I meet in my travels–hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.

Barack Obama (GR)

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney (GR)

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

Maya Angelou (GR)

I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.

Albert Einstein (GR)

Humanistic counseling, which is consistent with Rogers’ approach, espouses the importance of compassion, service to others, kindness, and optimism. In this way, humanistic counseling embraces creativity, humility, empathy, and altruism (Robbins, 2008), as well as recognition of each person’s uniqueness.

Robbins further describes the history of humanistic psychology as focusing “its attention on what it means to flourish as a human being” (2008, p. 97). The altruistic focus of humanistic counseling is overwhelmingly apparent in these quotes, with those by Mother Teresa and Gandhi representing stellar examples.

A humanistic approach is also one that encourages curiosity and intuition (Giorgi, 2005). The idea that intuition should be embraced is especially evident in the words of Einstein. And finally, Angelou beautifully articulates the value of creativity, as it is indeed an ever-flowing capacity and only gets stronger the more you use it.

 

A Take-Home Message

Quotes represent excellent tools for expressing many key aspects of counseling. Of course, not all quotes accessible on the internet are accurate, but the inquisitive reader may easily find many that are beautiful, inspiring and truthful—more than 60 of which are displayed in this article.

The quotes included herein reflect numerous qualities that are integral to wellbeing and happiness, such as resilience, compassion, optimism, gratitude, curiosity, acceptance, creativity, and courage—among others.

Although the use of others’ words should never replace free-thinking, using them wisely may enhance the counselor’s objective to inspire and motivate. So, don’t be afraid to draw from the wise and insightful words of others in a way that enriches yourself and your relationships, as, in the words of Leo Buscaglia (aka ‘Dr. Love’), “Our only salvation is in knowledge, in learning.” (BQ).

If you enjoyed reading these quotes as much as I enjoyed capturing them here, skip through to our related article with inspirational Coaching Quotes.

* The origin of this quote is discussed here.

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About the Author

Heather Lonczak holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a focus on Positive Youth Development. She has published numerous articles aimed at reducing health disparities and promoting positive psychosocial youth outcomes (e.g., academic achievement, cultural identity, mindfulness and belief in the future). Heather is also a children’s book author whose publications primarily center around the enhancement of child resilience, as well as empathy and compassion for wildlife.

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