So… what is counseling?
A lot of talk?
Being told to get over it?
Pull yourself together?
A sign of weakness?
No, indeed not.
Counseling is about the therapist’s education and experience guiding you to self-exploration and understanding. The therapist’s education and experience help you find your values and help you find the right path 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 have not 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 perceptions. Perhaps trauma makes you question yourself. You wonder: Did that 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 permit yourself 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 ensure 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 probe for information. All this is to gain a fuller picture of what is happening in your life. Please remember this is 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 of 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 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 on coming this far.