There still seem to be so many myths about what counselling is, what good it could do and who ‘should’ be considering it. I have heard many reasons from people who deny themselves the chance to feel better about themselves and their lives, based on preconceived ideas about what happens in the therapy room, or even about the kind of people that would give it a go.
Most people who have an ongoing physical issue will recognise the value in going to see their GP, and getting some professional help in dealing with it. Why then, do we as a society, not put the same value and importance on getting the right help with psychological or emotional issues – many of which can cause us at least as much bother in our day to day lives?
You might know that you do not feel good about yourself, or recognise that you keep falling into the same negative cycles, or even be aware enough to see how you push people away in order to protect yourself. You might just have a sense of not being as happy as you could be, or not understand people’s reactions to you, or you might have a specific issue that you would like to talk through.
There are not specific types of people who benefit from counselling. The truth is, everyone could do with a bit of help now and then.
One of the absolute joys of my work is seeing when someone reaches the point of changing things for the better, and I know that their day to day life is about to start looking up. There might be a moment of clarity when, all of a sudden, their negative reality becomes something different and they can begin to accept themselves and move forward. A person could have suffered from anxiety for many years, so long that they have come to accept it as their truth, then find that with the right therapist they can begin to take control of it and feel safe in the world again.
Some of the reasons people have told me for not trying counselling have included: oh I manage and things aren’t so bad, I’m too old to worry about it now, there are people much worse off than me that need it more, there’s nothing wrong with me, talking about it won’t make any difference. I have also met people who were very worried about having to tell a stranger all about things they might find embarrassing, shameful or painful. Others have felt nervous about making the changes which could improve their lives as early experiences may have taught them that they do not deserve better, or are scared that talking about it could make it worse.
Having witnessed, and experienced, how much better a person can be after some effective therapy, I can honestly say at can be life changing. Imagine your life without all those old doubts, without unnecessary fears, feeling confident and comfortable with who you are and being able to live your life the way you want to.
So many people have told me they wished they had tried counselling sooner in their lives, after experiencing how different they felt. They explained that they did not know enough about it before, or thou
ght it was only for people in crisis situations, or that they might be judged by others if they found out. Counselling is for everyone, no matter what your social status might be, whether you have a small issue that could get sorted or a lifelong problem that you would like to tackle. Counselling is no more shameful than going to the GP with ongoing physical issues.
Why should you continue to live life less fully than you want to? Why should you continue to feel that you are less important than others? Why should you carry a burden that is not yours? You shouldn’t!
If you are not sure if counselling is the right option for you, reach out and have a conversation. Talk to others who have been through it. Make contact with a couple of selected counsellors for a conversation before you decide. Don’t write it off because you don’t think it’s for you. It could be the most important call you ever make.