If you’ve never had counselling, or it’s been a very long time, it may be easy to be influenced by some common myths about counselling. Here are some constructive perspectives on how counselling can really help.
Misconception #1: “People only get counselling after a serious trauma.”
While many people turn to a therapist for help coping with a crisis, the reasons people get counselling vary widely. For instance, it’s common for people to explore ways to feel happier on a daily basis. Others may seek support during career transitions, when they are faced with a big decision or want help improving communication skills. It’s also common for people to get counselling to prepare for an upcoming milestone, such as marriage.
Misconception #2: “Counselling always takes a long time to be effective.”
The length of treatment for counselling varies from person to person and from issue to issue. Many people report feeling a boost of confidence, relief and/or hope after initial appointments, because they are provided with direction and support. Most people will see noticeable results in dealing with their issues in three to six months of regular, semi-monthly appointments. Other situations and clients may require far fewer counselling sessions to generate progress. Some severe or historical types of trauma may take a more significant commitment from both the client and the counsellor, requiring more time to resolve.
Misconception #3: “Getting counselling means you’ve failed or given up.”
This is an unfortunate misconception, because getting counselling means that you are taking a positive step and are trying to feel better. Asking for help, in any area of your life, is an indication of hopeful feelings. There isn’t a stigma around going to the doctor if you’re physically ill or having a coach for sports. We believe that getting help from a counsellor in order to be happier, less stressed and more productive, should be viewed the same way. Therefore, the misconception that, “getting counselling means you’ve given up,” couldn’t be further from the truth.
Misconception #4: “Counselling only deals with the past.”
Counselling is most commonly focused on the “here and now”. While getting to the root of a client’s challenges will probably involve talking about their past, the emphasis is on practical solutions and choices, to help make a difference as quickly as possible. Counselling aims to offer new strategies to help clients move forward in a proactive direction.
Misconception #5: “Talking about my problems, in counselling or otherwise, isn’t going to help.”
While counselling sessions are based on conversation, the most helpful counselling is goal oriented and counselors will recommend strategies, which clients will implement between sessions. In addition, the way therapeutic conversations happen between a counsellor and client help create a new way of looking at challenges and exploring new possibilities. Counselling is collaborative, meaning that it’s about much more than one person talking and another listening. Counselling is also highly individualized, meaning the counsellor will help formulate solutions that best suit the client’s needs and preferences.
The best way to evaluate how counselling can have a positive impact is to try it yourself. Find out more about the therapeutic approaches we have to a wide range of challenges at http://www.jerichocounselling.com/who-we-are/what-we-do/.
The following blog postings have been helpful for many of our clients and may be of interest to you, too. Please note that they do not replace professional support and assistance. If you find yourself in crisis, please reach out to support resources in your community.