6. So… what is counseling?
A lot of talk ? Mamby-Pamby stuff?
Being told to just get over it?
Pull your self together?
A sign of weakness? Poor Character?
NO ! Indeed not.
Counseling is about the therapist’s education and experience guiding you to self-exploration and understanding. It is the therapist’s education and experience which helps you find your own values, which in turn help you find the path which is right for you.
If you are “stuck”, the therapist can ask questions or present new ideas to help you get “unstuck”. Perhaps these ideas are ones you just haven’t come to yet.
There is also a lot of listening on the part of the therapist. Being able to tell your story to a non-judgmental listener helps in the healing process. Sometimes therapy is about validation. Trauma makes it difficult for a person to believe his or her own perceptions. Perhaps trauma makes you question yourself. You wonder: Did that really happen? Was THAT what I thought it was? A therapist may help confirm your perceptions. A therapist may help give new explanations to your perceptions.
Perhaps due to circumstances, you may not give yourself permission to feel the way you do. A therapist may validate your feelings or present a new point of view about your feelings. Remember…facing feelings can be frightening. But you can do this.
Sometimes there are medical issues, which mimic psychological matters. A wise therapist will want you to see your Primary Care Physician to make sure there are no medical issues. Sometimes a person has a poor functioning thyroid and this can seem like depression. Hypoglycemia can seem like anxiety.
Therapy is often guided talk and listening, to get the pieces of the puzzle put together. It may mean questioning and probing for information. This is to gain a fuller picture of what is happening in your life. Please remember this is done to help you help yourself.
We have talked about overcoming your fears to initiate the thought of going to a therapist. We talked about various aspects to consider when selecting a therapist. We reviewed ethics, education, licensures, costs, and what counseling entails. All in all, you have more courage than you know. The next step is to ask friends or family if they know any therapists. Perhaps you feel better surfing the web for information. There are professional associations that have therapist directories. Some therapists have their own websites.
Remember your three choices stated in the first segment of this series: Keep it the same; make it worse; or MAKE IT BETTER. Continue your forward movement and make some phone calls. Talk to a therapist and “check them out”. I have faith in you to make good decisions. Congratulations for coming this far.