What is so special about a counsellor?
"I don't need counselling, I'm OK!" I hear this very often from people. Even though they realise something is not quite right in their life, they still believe seeing a counsellor will put a stigma on them and appear as "crazy" or weak and not able to resolve their own problems. Some people are also concerned of what the counsellor will think of them if they speak about what troubles them and express their feelings. In most of the cases, they prefer to turn to a friend or family member which can be a valuable source of support and the truth is: much cheaper. Another benefit of talking to somebody they know already is that there is a relationship and trust established, they already know a lot about the past and they can be very flexible with the time. So what makes the difference in seeing a counsellor?
To answer this question I think we should look at what a counsellor can do:
- A counsellor is somebody with years of training in listening to people in a non-judgemental way, trying to get in your shoes and understand what you are going trough. You will then realise you have a voice and you can make yourself heard. Being accepted you will learn how to accept yourself too and how valuable you are. With time this will boost your self-confidence.
- A counsellor will never offer advice. Some clients find this very confusing and "no value for the money they pay", as they hope for some expert point of view. What a counsellor does is to guide you through understanding your options, consequences for every one of them and decide what is right. By doing this a few times it will soon become a way of coping and thinking.
- A counsellor is not your friend but somehow you will build a strong relationship, based on trust and confidentiality, knowing you will always have somebody to turn to, which has your best interest at heart. This relationship will then work as a template for all the other relationships you have: you will learn how to set boundaries and how to maintain them, what to expect from your close ones, how to trust them and express your feelings and thoughts.
- A counsellor will help you understand where your beliefs come from and how come you behave in a certain way. In counselling you will have the support to repair what was wrong in the past, to heal and change.
- A counsellor will be honest about his feelings in the room with you and this will be a great lesson of assertiveness as well as an opportunity for you to learn how you come across to other people. Having this awareness you will then be able to stand for yourself and pose in the person you would like to be.
- A counsellor will strongly believe you can change, walk with you on this journey and never force you into taking decisions you are not yet prepared to take. A counsellor will never lose trust in you even if you relapse and instead of judging you he help you to find the core of your problem.
- A counsellor has knowledge and knows how to deal with whatever you bring and want to work on.
These being said it worth considering the option of having some counselling sessions. You don't have to go through something major, sometimes even taking the challenge of seeing things differently, could bring you some benefit. Life is hard and day to day events can impact you in different ways. Having somebody to talk to will help you off-load and enable you to improve your coping mechanisms.