|Posted on 14 April, 2015 at 9:00|
People have varying feelings regarding counseling. For some, counseling is an essential part of life. For others, even thinking about therapy is uncomfortable. There are different perceptions about what it means to go to counseling, and society and culture definitely play a role in this. Depending on your viewpoint, counseling may be looked at as a legitimate way to deal with problems. Or it may be something that only "crazy people" do.
Here are a few myths about counseling and the reality checks that go with them.
If I go to counseling it means I'm weak. I should be able to handle my problems on my own, without help. The reality is that some problems are too big, messy, or painful to handle alone. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to reach out to someone outside your friends and family for an unbiased perspective. A counselor can provide that perspective for you, pointing out things you may not have considered before, asking questions that get you thinking, and helping you identify choices and options you didn't realize you have.
Everyone will know my business. The reality is that everyone will NOT know your business. A counselor has an ethical obligation to keep client information confidential. There are certain exceptions to this, such as a client expressing the desire to hurt herself or someone else, or a report of child abuse, but these exceptions primarily involve people's personal safety, and not the issues many clients bring to counseling.
Counseling doesn't work. The reality is that counseling won't work if you go into it with that attitude and a closed mind. If you refuse to share, open up, and deal with your issues, you will not get very far with counseling. However, if you believe counseling can help you, and you go in with an open mind, counseling can make a positive difference in your life.
Only crazy people go to counseling. The reality is that counseling is for people who want to make a change in their lives. Asking for help with this doesn't make you crazy. It makes you smart, and it means you are ready for things to get better. It means you are tired of being stuck in a rut and you're looking for something to change. Yes, there are people who have very serious mental disorders, but I don't see many of them in my office for counseling. If someone has a considerable amount of mental disturbance they are more likely to be on strong psychotropic medications, and may not be able to sit in a counseling office to discuss their issues.
These are only some of many myths about counseling, and everyone has their own fears and worries about sharing their issues and inner thoughts with a stranger, but going to counseling doesn't mean you are weak or crazy, or that everyone will know your business. And if you want it to be a good experience, start with a positive attitude and the idea that counseling can help.