Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why Counseling?

"So what kinds of things do people come to you to talk about?"

“I could NEVER talk to a counselor.”

“Do you really think you can fix people?”

I get questions and comments like these pretty regularly.  People are intrigued by the mystery of what goes on in my office.  The truth is I have heard my share of sad stories.  Clients have told me about heartbreaking situations and devastating ways that they've been hurt by others, and I always feel honored when people trust me enough to share these experiences.

However, other clients are coming to counseling for what I call "everyday life problems"- too much stress, a time of sadness that won't go away, a season of anxiety, a lack of direction, difficulty adjusting to a new situation, and a multitude of other situations.  These situations can be very painful, and I feel honored when people trust me with them as well. 

Sometimes people have the idea that an issue has to be "bad enough" to qualify for counseling, as if a counselor would consider them silly for coming to talk about the thing that is bothering them.  On the other hand, some people think that their situation is so bad, so shocking, or so shameful that they could not imagine sharing it out loud with another person.  The truth is that any situation causing a person pain or keeping them from living a full and happy life is a reason to seek counseling.

The decision to attend counseling is one that a person has to make for his or herself.  No one can force you to do it, and you can’t force it on anyone else either.  Certainly parents can force it on a teenager, but even then the process  goes significantly better if the teenager comes around to the idea.  This isn’t always the case, but people don’t usually stick with counseling if it isn’t a decision they have made for themselves. 

Is counseling a magic cure for life’s problems? Certainly not.  Is it a quick fix? Nope.  Do counselors know all the answers? If only that were the case.  However, the counselors that I know do try to help and encourage people the best they can.  For me, it is very important that people feel comfortable in my office, that they recognize it to be a place where they can be honest and know they will not be judged.  I cannot “fix” anything, but I can walk alongside someone and offer a new perspective. Ultimately, I want clients to feel better and to grow as people.  The combination of these two things help clients feel equipped to handle their struggles on their own. 

If you’ve considered seeing a counselor, I encourage you not to let fear hold you back.  I cannot promise that it will solve all your problems, but I can say with confidence that I have seen it help many people.  If you want more information about the counseling process, please feel free to contact me!


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