Counseling Myths and Facts:
Do you ever think that it would be nice to have someone to talk to, bounce ideas off of or share your burdens with? Many people think that seeing a counselor is only for people with serious emotional problems… that you have to be “crazy” to see a counselor. The truth is everyone can use a tune up every once in a while. So let’s talk about some of the myths of seeking counseling.
Seeking counseling is a sign of weakness.
FACT: It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and explore painful experiences or issues that you don’t know how to handle.
Going to counseling means I’m helpless.
FACT: Going to counseling is a way of taking control of your life and helping yourself.
Counselors don’t understand unless they’ve been through it.
FACT: Individual reactions to events are widely varied, but basic human emotions are the same across individuals and cultures. Can a male physician not be an OBGYN doc because they’ll never go through those experiences first hand?
They’re just going to give me a pill.
FACT: Medication is not the first line approach to counseling. If your counselor believes that you may have a physical issue that is worsening or causing the counseling concern, you may be referred for a medication evaluation. Research shows that in some instances medication coupled with counseling is most effective.
The counselor will tell me how to fix my problems.
FACT: Counseling is not a quick cure of your problems. The counselor is there to help you explore your feelings, thoughts and concerns; to examine your options and to assist you in achieving the goals you have set.
Counseling doesn’t work.
FACT: There is a large body of research showing that counseling is very effective in helping people explore feelings, thoughts, concerns and offer options, perspectives and ideas that work.
I shouldn’t have to pay for a friend.
FACT: Counselors are trained to help you identify, explore and understand some of your reactions, perspectives and behaviors. In doing so, you are able to make the decisions and changes you feel would be beneficial to your life. Counselors are unbiased, and we are invested in your long-term health.
Counseling is only for people with severe emotional problems.
FACT: Counselors can assist with a variety of issues. Sometimes those are severe emotional issues and other times the issues include:
- Life transitions and adjusting to new events in your life (retirement, new marriage, new baby, new job to name a few
- Difficulty juggling stress such as school, work, family and other responsibilities
- Academic problems
- Struggles with self-esteem, communication or assertiveness
- Relationship problem
Trish Bannon MS, LPC