Myths and Truths about Counselling
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Kajal Kumar B.A., PgDip, MBACP (Accred) Registered Member of BACP
7th February, 20130 Comments
What is counselling? Counselling is a way of exploring your issues and difficulties with someone who is trained in how to. Counselling provides consistency, non-judgemental, confidential space where you can talk about your fears, confusion and gain insight and understanding into what is causing you discomfort in your life with the help of a neutral trained professional.
How does Counselling help? Counselling helps to explore, understand and become aware of your feelings. Gaining the above may help you to cope better and see things from a different perspective and hopefully move on in your life with greater understanding and confidence.
What is stigma? Stigma is a negative label, belief, and misconception about a particular subject/topic.
What are the myths and truths? Stigma about counselling is obstacles, which prevents one from seeking help and/or better themselves. It is generalised belief that if you need or even think about counselling which might mean that you are going mad, you are a nutcase, you are losing it or you have mental health problems and you might end up in mental institute. Fear of ending up in a mental institute or being a nut case is overwhelming and scary and one can than do many things to avoid thinking they have issues, problems or difficulties or they are unable to cope with it or their day to day life. Needing help also seen as a weakness. Needing or seeking help specially like counselling is looked down upon in many cultures. It is believed that one should not talk to a stranger about their problems, one should be able to deal or resolve their problems by themselves or by talking to a close family members or with a close friends or in many culture it is advised to sweep it under the carpet, stiff up a lip and get on with it. Often there is worry amongst the family member if they are being talked about and how they might be judged. It is also seen as bringing shame on family. What will others might think. A bit of guilt and shame on the parents, partners and family members if they feel they may have a part in family member needing/seeking counselling. Unfortunately the same stigma is passed to young people as well.
Seeking counselling is a very healthy approach, it is logical, realistic and right way of going about resolving issues and difficulties when it has not resolved in other ways tried. It is also indication of accepting that one has issues and difficulties in their life due to past experiences and/or present circumstances and it may feel overwhelming and confusing. Sometimes it is difficult to explore this with friends and/or family members; as they might be the part of the problems and/or might not be able to empathise or perhaps, you might not want the advise and just wants to be heard, listened to and understood. It might be that you need the clarity and understanding on what the issues are in reality.
There might be on going issues from your childhood/past which may have also become a repeated pattern and you are not aware or sure how to break or overcome.
What is the role of a counsellor?
A trained counsellor’s job is to provide you with consistency, provide you with a confidential, safe space for you to openly express your feelings and to talk about your issues and difficulties without feeling being judged. A counsellor is a neutral, qualified, experienced professional who comes with you on your journey, go with your pace, hold you, listen to you and try and understand your difficulties and issues from your perspective and understand you and use that understanding and her/his skills to explore and guide you and help you to bring into your awareness and help you to understand why you feel the way to help you gain insight and hopefully help you to move forward with confidence and positivity and maybe learn how to cope with your difficulties.
One should not feel ashamed in seeking help or guidance. It is not a weakness. It is a strength – strength of recognising and accept that you are going through a rough time, having some issues and difficulties and importantly you want to do something about resolving it and overcome your difficulties. It is about having that control to take charge and change how you feel to how you would like to be and feel. It is about getting clarity, understanding and being aware of roots of your issues and difficulties and improves the quality of your life and your relationship with others.
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