“Well, why is counseling needed?” For years there has been a stigma on counseling. The belief is that a person only go-to counseling if they’re mentally ill or if you have something wrong with them. I guess I ask the question, “Doesn’t everyone have something wrong with them, at some point in time?”
No matter if you’re a teen, young adult, or older adult, we all have moments where we face adversity. Adversity can be traumas, life changes, stressors, and circumstances that change our lives somehow, and these things can bring on brief moments or lifelong struggles of anxiety and depression, or trigger mental health changes. The truth is we all face hardships that can cause struggles with sleep, time management, negative thoughts, conflicts, relational stress, intense emotions, trouble focusing, and even the ability to manage everyday tasks.
Now a lot of people choose to face these struggles and adversity alone or with family and friends and some do just fine. But, sometimes even with family, friends, and other support, some people may find themselves stuck struggling to move on or past the hardship or obstacles that stand in the way. Someone could ask, “well how is counseling going to fix it?”
There is a common misconception that counseling fixes or cures people. This is false, a counselor/therapist does not have a magic wand to fix, change, or cure anyone. However, we do have ways of providing different tools and a different perspective that is not so close to home and personal life. Often a listening ear, patience, and creative mind can help serve someone to work towards their goals or mental and emotional recovery simply through problem-solving, brainstorming, and finding ways that our thoughts or perceptions are faulty.
Counseling can help with building self-care tools, problem-solving techniques, and gaining insight on how to manage these adversities and stressors in a healthy way. The truth is as a counselor often my first encounter with an individual is not because there is something wrong with their mind, it is often due to there being something wrong in their life, an obstacle that has created a shift in their ability to function at their highest capacity. In some individuals, they see a counselor because they are trying to prevent or manage bad situations and learn ways to manage life’s little curveballs before they present. And, yes then there are a few who present because they have a mental health disorder they struggle with but it’s often due to normal day-to-day life challenges that amplify those struggles. People can become easily overwhelmed with social situations, school stressors, people-pleasing, work-related stress, and strains in home life such as relational struggles.
So if you’re a person who finds yourself easily frazzled by day-to-day stress, irritated and overwhelmed by those around you, feeling down and blue because of all the chaos that life has presented us in 2020, feeling uncertain or insecure, then why not counseling? Why not have someone to talk to and work through troubling thoughts and emotions with? Another reason a person may worry about going to counseling is the worry of someone holding a bias or judgment against you because of what you share. Well, as a therapist I can say I believe in the proverb “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” We are all human beings and not one of us has a perfect life or a perfect past. A person should be able to process their struggles without judgment.
As a counselor, I work to provide a safe and professional space with patience and kindness so that individuals can work towards being happier and healthier people working towards their personal goals. If you feel like you might benefit from having someone to talk to do some research find a good fit for your needs and sit with a counselor, you can go with direct goals and challenges to work through, or you can just go collaborate on what your experiencing and the counselor can help point you in the right direction of what goals may help you to have a healthy outcome.