Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Have you ever thought about seeking counselling, but found that you were put of doing so because of some rumours that you had heard?
Here are some myths and misconceptions about counselling that I will address, which are worth debunking.
“I should be able to manage my own issues”
If you were starting to feel physically unwell, you would make a choice to either see a doctor or wait to see if you get better naturally. You might try to find ways of relieving the symptoms yourself by taking some over the counter medicines. Sometimes this works and sometimes the illness can become debilitating and your health can deteriorate.
Emotional health follows the same pattern. If an issue or experience is bothering you there is the option to do nothing and see if it goes away, try and find a coping mechanism for your problem or see an experienced professional who can help you.
Like good physical health, good mental health is important for your general well-being.
In the session you have the full, undivided attention of the Counsellor It is a safe, confidential environment with no interruptions. The Counsellor’s job is to develop a working relationship that allows you to feel able to talk about possibly very raw emotions. You will set the agenda; you will decide what is going to be discussed in the session. You are in charge.
“Seeking counselling is a sign of weakness”
Contrary to this statement, seeking counselling is a sign of strength and courage. Admitting that you need help is often very difficult and by no means a sign of weakness. It takes a great deal of courage to take the first step through the counselling door. Counselling can be the emotional equivalent of running a marathon. Counselling can be exhausting, exhilarating, daunting and exciting. It is a testament of courage and a first step towards self-acceptance and healing. Counselling can provide empowerment and can also give a clearer perspective on your problems.
“The Counsellor will just sit there in silence”
Many stereotypes of Counsellors in movies have led to their image of being distant, detached, mind readers, silent or just plain ineffective. Contrary to this image, most Counsellors are active and engaged in the work. Yes there may be times when you might experience silence, but this is time for reflection and not an expectation that you have to do or say something.
“The Counsellor will tell me how to 'fix' things”
There is no ‘fix’ it or rapid cure in Counselling. It is a process whereby you will explore your needs and concerns and find the answer that works best for you. No one will tell you what to do and how to do it. You decide what you want to talk about. We will work together to look at your experience.
“Only one type of counselling works (CBT, psychodynamic etc.)”
There are a wide variety of approaches and theories in the counselling profession. Gradually these different approaches are becoming more and more integrated with each other. What is most important in the success of the work is the relationship between the Counsellor and Client.
It is important for the client to be able to trust the Counsellor with the issues that they bring. Ask questions, take notes, and challenge what is being said! It may feel a little strange to start with, but the more honest you are able to be in the relationship, the more successful the outcome of therapy.
“Everyone will know I am seeing a Counsellor”
Counselling sessions are bound by a confidentiality agreement that is agreed at the first session. The only people who will know you are seeing a Counsellor will be those people you decide to tell yourself.
Counselling has enormous potential to benefit those of us who are struggling with a whole spectrum of issues. This post has looked at some of the more common myths surrounding therapy.
I am happy to take phone-calls and emails for further enquires, or for an informal chat about what counselling can offer you. Please do contact me and if you leave a message I will get back to you as quickly as I can.