More Advice:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,

You say giving advice does not work, people just will not listen. Yet a friend of mine saw a psychic… and her advice changed my friend’s life!

Vincent Price


Dear Vincent,

Yes indeed in a previous blog I explained how advice doesn’t work, people just do not listen. But indeed there are conditions when advice does work. Mostly it boils down to this- if advice is asked for it is sometimes listened to, especially is the advice giver is seen as “The Expert”.  But advice can also work if it is subtly manipulative i.e. you don’t realize you’re being advised.

In all mental health fields they tell you not to give advice. You can listen, encourage, do corrective paraphrasing… but do not tell anyone what they should do. People reject direct advice. However I too have seen a psychic change a person’s life because direct advice is precisely what they gave!

Psychics meet all three conditions. They are sought out as experts, they have great song and dance… and they are masters of subtle manipulation, often through implied fear or threats. There’s enough mystery and superstition around a psychic that a person will hesitate to challenge direct advice from them. This used to be the case for doctors and counselors too but far less so today. However, a good entertainer today can still make a very effective doctor, lawyer, or counselor. The schtick  (gimmick) is the spoon full of sugar that makes the medicine go down.

There even happens to be a whole field called motivational interviewing that is subtly manipulating a person towards positive change. Rather than giving people the answers, it elicits people to ask the right questions.

Thank you for your astute observation.

Dr. Brilliant Cliché


Granny says- I think it’s far simpler than that. If a person wants to change, they will listen to advice. If they don’t want to change, they won’t.

The problem with offering advice is that it has the accompanying arrogance of assuming the advice giver has the answers. Ha ha.

Advice givers can only quote from history. We can never know how a situation will play out, because we don’t know the potential players and we can’t foresee the random actions of the universe. But we can increase the odds of success with good advice. And that’s worth something.

About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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