For a long time now counseling has had a negative stigma attached that has kept people from seeking help. Often people have wrongly viewed those who reach out for help as weak or incapable of handling their own problems. However, it is quite the opposite, only those who are strong enough to admit their struggle and are ready to deal with it reach out for the help of a counselor. Coming to a counselor is admitting that life is difficult and that some problems are too large to tackle without the help and encouragement of another.
Counseling provides an artificial pairing of two people that allows an individual to talk openly with someone who is an unbiased third party. Often when talking with family or friends no matter how much one tries to be unbiased they will inevitably bring the emotions of the relationship in the conversation.
These emotions often make it nearly impossible for a friend to be a completely unbiased ear. While the desire is to see the love one grow, it can be hard to give unbiased advice to have them progress at the speed that is healthiest for them.
Secondly, counseling is free of judgement. So many times a person would have reached out for help sooner if it was possible for them to do so without the potential stigma that is attached to their specific struggle. In counseling it is possible to openly share the depths of your struggle without the real or perceived judgments of society. A counselor has been trained to listen without passing judgment on their counselee no matter the issue. The goal of counseling is growth and healing despite the struggles of life which means that no matter what the struggle the counselor is there to help and not judge.
Furthermore, seeking counseling from a trained counselor allows for the professional experience of someone who has worked for hours helping others overcome their struggles. These experiences while not identical do allow the counselor to hear many different perspectives on a similar struggle and gain experience in how to approach overcoming each individuals specific difficulty. These hours of experience allow a counselor to have many different tools in their toolbox to attack each problem, while knowing that the same tool will not always help in the same way it did with the last counselee. For this reason, while a friend might have experienced a similar issue and their help can be beneficial a counselor might have helped many people work through a similar struggle which provides a deeper understanding of the issue.
Why Should I Seek Counseling?
It is impossible to create an exhaustive list of things that someone might seek counseling for because to leave something off that list might seem misleading. Anything that becomes a life dominating struggle that causes difficulty in getting through the everyday patterns of life would be an issue of concern worthy of counseling. What does a life dominating concern look like? A few examples of counseling topics might be:
- Relationship Difficulties
- Stressful Seasons of Life
- Loss of a Love One
- Impulse Control
- Inability to Focus
Again, that list is not meant to be an exhaustive list but is meant to show a few things that might be issues that can become life dominating.
Counseling is a decision that must be made by each individual person. What might seem like a topic in need of counseling in the mind of one person might be manageable in the mind of another. A person must be willing to seek counsel before counseling can be truly beneficial because if a person is not invested in the counseling relationship will not work for the desired change. When a person reaches the point at which they believe counseling is necessary they must commit to the entire process of change in order to receive the full benefit of the process.
If there is something in your life that gets in the way of you living a happy, healthy, and productive life I would encourage you to begin researching counseling options for you in your area. Some things to consider as you look for a counselor:
- Are there places that you trust that offer counseling?
- Have any of your friends received counseling from people or centers they would recommend?
- Does your church have a counseling center?
- Are you ready to confront your issue and invest in a counseling plan?
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of questions to consider this would be a great place to start in considering counseling. The most important thing to remember is that counseling isn’t for those who are too weak to face life but is for those who are strong enough to realize they need help and are willing to ask for that help.