Misconceptions About Counseling 

People who have never attending counseling may have some misconceptions about what counseling is. Television shows and movies often portray the Hollywood version of counseling, which is often not accurate. Learning about what counseling is and how it can help can alleviate the anxiety some people experience when considering either individual or couple’s counseling.

Counseling can’t help my marriage if my spouse refuses to attend

If you are experiencing marital problems and your spouse refuses to attend counseling with you, it can be very beneficial for you to attend counseling by yourself. In fact, sometimes couples counseling isn’t appropriate and individual counseling can be just as helpful. If your spouse isn’t interested in attending counseling, dragging your spouse to a session probably will not turn out well. In order to benefit from counseling, a person must be motivated to make change and willing to participate. Therefore, there are changes you can make individually that can still help your marriage.

Counselors offer advice

Counselors are not like advice columnists. They won’t tell you things such as whether you should stay in your marriage or leave. If they simply offered advice, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.

Counselors should offer you feedback on their observations. They may make suggestions on changes and activities you could try and skills you could learn. However, ultimately they should be helping you weigh the pros and cons of decisions you choose to make. A counselor’s job is actually to work themselves out of a job, so they should be helping you learn skills that will reduce your need for counseling in the future.

If I have friends I don’t need counseling

Counselors should play a different role in your life than friends. But sometimes people think that if they vent to their friends, they don’t need to go a counselor. If you are just looking for a place to vent, you probably don’t need counseling. Friends can provide you with that support.

However, if you are looking for more help than your friends can offer, seek professional assistance. Counselors can help you to identify patterns in your behaviors. They can also help you identify and deal with your feelings and thoughts. They can also provide you with resources and skills to improve your life.

Counselors make you talk about your childhood

People sometimes avoid counseling because they are afraid a counselor will force them to talk about uncomfortable subjects, such as their childhood. It is important to remember that a counselor cannot force you to talk about anything you are not comfortable with. Although it is sometimes important to address past abuse or other issues that may be impacting people today, sometimes it is more important for counselors to focus on the present.

If a person has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it may require talking about some subjects that are difficult. However, a counselor should not be encouraging you to do so unless you are ready. If it is too anxiety-provoking, a counselor may help you learn relaxation skills or may decide that it isn’t the right time for you to talk about it or they may recommend other treatments to help you manage your symptoms.

Counseling is only for weak people

Sadly, many people suffer in silence because they think they should be able to deal with all of their problems on their own. They may view depression as a sign of weakness or think that people should be able to handle their marital issues on their own. However, just like if a person is diagnosed with a physical health issue, such as diabetes, treatment may be necessary to help.

It requires a lot of courage to make that first appointment. When someone reaches out for help, it is often a sign of strength. Counseling shows that someone is motivated to make some changes in their life.

Insurance companies only pay for counseling if you have a serious mental illness

Sometimes people avoid counseling because they assume their health insurance company will not cover the costs. However, you won’t know unless you check with your policy. The link between physical health problems and mental health problems have become clear. When people become stressed, they often develop physical symptoms. This has led to increased coverage for counseling many issues.

If you have considered counseling but have not yet followed through, determine what has been getting in your way of doing so. Consider contacting your doctor to discuss counseling as an option and your doctor may make a referral for you. Also, consider calling local mental health providers and ask questions about how to set up services and what sorts of issues they routinely deal with. Online help is available as well. Online counselors can assist you with learning more and may make some helpful recommendations for you.


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