In my previous column we talked about the reluctance people have to going for counselling. In this column; I’d like to explore that a bit further. What stops someone from going for counselling? Is it that we are afraid to be seen or known to have “needed” counselling? Is it that we believe that going for counselling means that we are crazy or weak?
Maybe you’ve heard yourself say many times “that’s it, I can’t take it anymore!” and even then you put off doing something about it. Maybe you think, “I can’t afford it,” “I haven’t got the time,” “things are never going to change anyway!” or “counselling won’t help. Perhaps it’s the perceived stigma of “weakness” inherent in “I need help.”
When we’re in the process of sinking into the abyss of despair, it is very hard to see the options available.
My experience has been that the therapist’s office is where I learned to heal myself. The place where I focused on my issues, my self, and my goals; where I learned to view my situations from different perspectives; where I learned about feelings, thoughts, and behaviours and how to manage each of these to help me achieve what I want.
So, how do you know it’s time to go for help? When is it going to be the moment of decision for you? Consider asking yourself the following questions: who do I want to be, what do I want have or do, what am I doing to get what I want, and is what I am doing getting me what I want? If the answers you get are not clear or to your liking, it’s time to get help. It is very difficult to get to where you want to go if you don’t know where that is or how to get there. If you feel your self and your life are not where you’d rather be, it’s time to take responsibility and find out how to get there.
A trained professional will ask you pointed questions, challenge you to evaluate your beliefs and your choices, and will put you in touch with the resources available to help you learn what you need. Reaching out is a gift you give to yourself.
The most common issues that bring someone to counselling are relationship difficulties. Humans being are social by nature, and as such, maneuvering relationships is what we will do from birth to death. Each relationship presents us with unique challenges.
What makes for effective relationships? Individuals who know themselves, are willing and able to communicate effectively, and who are respectful, loving, and accepting of self and others. Many of us get stuck in thinking that we are right, that we are communicating, and that it’s the other person who is wrong, unwilling to see it our way, unable to communicate, stubborn or abusive.
With the help of a therapist, you can begin to see the common threads of your struggles with the people and the issues in your life, the patterns that you can trace through your difficulties and relationships, and the potential solutions. By getting support through counselling or through personal development courses, books, and workshops, you can learn new coping skills, discover effective communications techniques, and improve all your relationships. With guidance and support you can boost your self-esteem and your confidence so you can change the destructive patterns in your life, and enable you to make healthier choices and redirect the path of your life.
So, once you’ve made the decision to go for counselling – what then? Pick up the phone book or search the internet for what is available to help you with your most pressing issue: parenting challenges, marital discord, financial pressures, dealing with difficult people at home or at work, grieving a significant loss, estrangement from loved ones, healing past traumas, anxiety, depression, and other issues. Make an appointment, sign up for a course or workshop, read books about the challenges you are facing. You are not the first one confronting these issues and you are not alone.
For more information call 506-458-8211.