Whatever the reason people come to counseling, often it helps to talk to someone who really tries to understand and, in that understanding, offers validation for the emotions, behaviours, ideas that come with their experiences.
Therefore, I will often say to clients -and mean it - “That makes so much sense.” In truth, people do make a lot of sense when someone intentionally takes the time to listen to them and hear the context of their lives - which includes understanding their stresses, strains in relationships, wounds, weariness and longings. People who otherwise might be called "over-reactive” or “rigid” might also be seen as sensitive or protective. People make a lot of good sense when there is someone attuning to them and seeking to understand them in light of their inherent dignity and goodness.
Here are a few other reasons why I like using that phrase:
It doesn’t condone or support behaviour. The phrase just offers understanding.
It is non-judgemental.
It is compassionate. People often feel invalidated for their emotions, judged for their behaviours, criticized for their theories. “That makes so much sense” is a way of offering companionship to people who often are feeling isolated.
When someone else understands another, defenses come down. This allows for safety in a therapeutic sense for people to look more honestly at themselves and re-evaluate whether they are going in a direction they want to or if there is another way forward.
And, therefore, it is therapeutic.