The Experience Bias

Deep within the heart of man is a desire to be normal, at least most of the time. While there are exceptions for those who celebrate being different, most prefer seeing themselves as normal compared to the larger grouping.

In counseling sessions, it is not uncommon to literally hear that question, “Am I normal?”.  Which usually means please tell me I am not too far off the grid that others inhabit; or, tell me I don’t have to change too much; or, tell me there is not something really wrong with me.

These questions presuppose that the person being asked these questions is a trusted person that is someone “normal” themselves and therefore, likely knows what normal is. There is a comfort in being told by such a person, that we are, indeed, normal because a respected normal person says so.

Hmmm, but what if they aren’t. What if they have biases themselves and their advice for us is based on those biases.

It would not be uncommon to choose someone who, we know, has experienced the same things that bring us to them for help. Surely that would-be a plus, wouldn’t it? Logically, yes it would. But, what if you are a person who celebrates your different-ness and they are not. Wouldn’t their solution be different from a solution that would work for us?

Isn’t it normal to hear someone explain a problem they want help with and the counselor filter that experience through their own experience?  Yes, it would. So, the real question for us is, “How do we know we have chosen a counselor who is right for us and hopefully, free of biases and capable of giving us good, solid direction”?

Ultimately, we must have faith that the good Lord has led us to the right person. Scripture reminds us that ‘we live by faith and not by sight’. But, if after a few sessions we find ourselves unpeaceful or unsettled in the presence of the counselor then it may be time to look elsewhere.

God is good, and wants us to feel good about ourselves. Our faith in Him will sooner or later come to fruition and we will end up with the correct person for us. Just remember He paints our path to Him with jagged lines that lead us straight. We must be willing to walk those jagged lines in faith and with the courage to stand up for ourselves to move on to another counselor if need be.


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