Being professional means being polite enough in your bedside manner to keep customers undistracted from whatever it is you're selling them. It's usually not hard. Just be nice. Just give basic human respect. Most of the time your exchanges are so brief and so focused on the product that even if you're really having to fake it, you can keep it together.
But counseling is a little different. It's such an intangible human exchange, that most "customers" in their initial vulnerability are hyper-focused on my reactions, looking for any indication of rejection or dislike. If they feel I don't like them, they don't trust me. If they don't trust me, they can't open up. If they can't open up, they won't heal. If they won't heal, I didn't do my job. So liking clients is important.
Unfortunately, as a fellow human, I can't possibly like every human that walks in my door. Some remind me of that ignorant teacher I had in high school. Some remind me of that bitter relative I spent the holiday with. Some remind me of that hateful student I taught. So when THOSE clients walk in the door, I am directly confronted with the conundrum of my own need for healing. If I'm not willing to heed the warning and immediately take care to do my own emotional work, I guarantee I will fail at my job.
Unsplash Photo Cred: CHUTTERSNAP