Anxious about counselling?

You don't need to be anxious about counselling. Maybe you are thinking about seeing a counsellor, or you may have spoken with friends, your family or doctor, but still have this apprehension or fear and don't know what to do. Perhaps your beliefs about counselling are tricking you and you feel stuck. Added to this, the problem is still there or even getting worse.

The answer is to gather information and challenge your beliefs.

Counselling is a talking therapy that can help people to change, understand, and feel better. It's been around for centuries but became more known since the work of Sigmund Freud. So, why do some people still shy away from this valuable resource? The answer is because of myths that have got muddled up with the facts.

10 myths about counselling and facts to help you

1. Counselling is only for mental health problems

Fact: It's for everyone with or without mental health problems. Many people seek help when making important decisions in their lives, stopping smoking, or dealing with exam nerves.

2. It's better to see a psychiatrist or psychotherapist than a counsellor

Fact: It's what is most appropriate for your needs that matters. Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental health disorders, often with medication, so they would not usually be appropriate for help, say, with the stress of moving house. There is no clear difference between a psychotherapist and a counsellor, although psychotherapists may help more people with complex problems.

3. Seeing a counsellor is a sign of weakness

Fact: It's actually a sign of strength and courage to tackle something that is causing a problem in your life. Seeing a counsellor can also show that you want something to change.

4. A counsellor will 'fix' your problems

Fact: Counsellors don’t fix problems. Rather, they enable you to see things from a different perspective and help you cope. Only you have the right to decide to change by doing something different in your life.

5. A counsellor just sits and nods and doesn't say very much

Fact: There are many different approaches to counselling. Some counsellors will say little, as they are giving you the time and space to think things over and make the right decisions for you. Other counsellors may play a more active role, and you may be involved in games, artwork, drama, or even going for a walk. Counselling is a partnership where the client and counsellor make agreements. Always ask a counsellor how they work.

6. Counselling is face to face

Fact: Face to face counselling is most common, although counselling can be carried out via webcam, email, telephone, text, or in special chat room groups. You can also do self-counselling with online courses.

7. It's a woman thing

Fact: People of all genders and backgrounds have counselling. There are also counsellors who specialise in helping people with LGBT issues, men's issues, and children. Counselling is for all classes of people. Counsellors don't make judgements about who you are - they just want to help.

8. You need a medical referral to get counselling

Fact: If you have a health issue, it's wise to see your doctor, and they can refer you for counselling, but you can also refer yourself to a counsellor.

9. I don't have the funds for a counsellor

Fact: Some counsellors have a sliding scale of charges to make it easier for people on low incomes. Some counsellors will take credit card payments. Some charities provide free counselling and support.

10. I'm not sure if it works

Fact: Counselling does work. There is lots of research and evidence that shows this. For some people, thinking and discussing a problem can bring up many unwanted emotions, so it may feel like it isn’t working at first, but in time most clients feel better because they have shared something and found new ways to cope.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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