My experience in counselling is that, while people may speak volumes, these volumes may for the most part not contain what is really going on. However, with rare exceptions, the counselee will always tell you what is really going on. It seems to be a universal law of counselling -- the counselee will tell you. However, they might literally flit through it with a single word. It is up to the counsellor then to catch that, and "stop the tape". OBSERVATION: It is helpful if one expects this. One doesn't necessarily judge the importance of a counselee's testimony by how much of it there is, but by how serious any little bit of it may be. I think this may be why people so often say: "I told my family (or friends, and so on), but they didn't hear me."