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Some people are more impressionable than others. They pick up what other people say. They make it part of themselves. They internalize it. And they do not understand that there is a world or a life beyond the things that they have learned. They act like the person they with. They talk like the person that they are with, possibly even with the same accent.

Not all impressionable people follow all of these traits or abilities, but many do. the important thing is that a counselor should not be one who is imporessionable. A counselor needs to keep a distance between himself and the client. He needs to know where he ends and the client begins and should not take to heart the things that the client says. His personal affairs have nothing to do with counseling and should be left out of it. This ability is part of a good counselor's persona, but not every person has these abilities.

This is not to say that being impressionable is necessarily a negative trait. There are many fine qualities that are associated impressionable people, including the fact that they can directly relate to those with whom they are in touch. This is a fine quality.

However, impressionable people have to be aware of their limitations. They have to exhibit caution because they could be susceptible to issues that are beyond their control.

Therefore, issues that involve a value judgment or distance or care to protect one's concepts, ideas or thoughts might be dangerous in the hands of a person who is susceptible (impressionable). They might not be able to deal with it.

How can you tell if you are susceptible (impressionable)?

If a person says something, do you listen critically and try to qualify it and question whether the information is correct? Do you read into things deeply or do you just accept anything that people say? If two people give contradictory statements or advice, can you deal with both possibilites and then try to decide which is correct? Or do you just assume that they are both correct and accept both of them? Can you draw strict lines of demarcation between your own feelings and beliefs and those of others? If you have difficulty knowing where you and the next person begins, if everything seems like a jumble, if you are too accepting of what people say, if you don't know how to distinguish between someone who is helping and someone who is hurting, if you believe everything you hear, then perhaps you are impressionable.

That's okay. However, be sure that you have a good friend - a confidant - who can help you sort things out more objectively. You're going to need that ability.

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Keyword: Counseling, Persona, Personality