Life can be difficult for everyone at one point or another. As humans, we often compare our situations or worries to other people’s around us, or around the world. In this context it can be hard to know when you might need to seek some additional help or support, like counselling. Is my difficulty ‘bad enough’ to need counselling? How do I know when to seek additional help like counselling? If you’ve asked yourself these types of questions before (even if they’re followed with the dismissive “there are children starving in Africa, it’s not that bad”) read on….
The tricky question
Let me start by saying that even though I can often, flippantly, be heard saying that counselling should be a pre-requisite for adulting, answering whether you need counselling is a tricky one. I truly believe that everyone can benefit from counselling, but that’s a different approach to the question. Say I was to answer emphatically “yes, you do need counselling” how would it make you feel? It might make you feel like your problems are really, really, terrible. And if I were to answer “no, I don’t think you need counselling” that might feel dismissive or minimising.
The decision to see a counsellor is a matter of personal choice, rather than something that you ‘must’ or ‘need’ to do.
So perhaps, asking yourself the following re-framed questions might help:
– How might I benefit from counselling?
– What is stopping me from exploring counselling?
– What do I want? And, can counselling help me achieve that?
There are some indicators that you might want to consider seeking out some counselling:
– Things that used to bring you joy, no longer do
– Your behaviour and reactions are troubling you
– You feel stuck in the same patterns, and lost
– Something has been troubling you over a period of time, and you are struggling to find a solution on your own
– Things are getting on top of you, and you are struggling to cope
– Your worries are having a negative impact on other aspects of your life – your work and your relationships for example
If any of the above resonate with you, please do get in touch with me – I’d love to explore with you how counselling might help.
What is stopping you from seeking out some counselling?
If you’ve found yourself thinking that you might want to take that step and have some counselling, I’m wondering what it is that stops you?
Feeling nervous or worried about seeing a counsellor for the first time is very common, and completely understandable. It’s an entirely new experience for you, and perhaps you’re apprehensive about what to expect, or what do say / do? If this is you, I’d want to acknowledge to you that you’ve already taken that first step. You’re here, reading this. And encourage you to get in touch – perhaps we can start by thinking about the feeling that comes with not knowing what to say, or how to use the counselling space. And before you know it, you’re doing it.
Perhaps you’re worried that by asking for help it will make the problem seem more real. It can be hard to ignore your worries, or pretend they aren’t there if you’re actively seeking out some help for them. However, whilst ignoring and pretending serve us well in the short term, they don’t tend to be effective long term strategies. It takes great bravery to ask for some help, and I am forever in awe of all of my clients for taking that step.
There are no wrong reasons to come to counselling
There doesn’t have to be anything ‘wrong’ with you to see a counsellor. I use the word ‘wrong’ here with discomfort – what is wrong?!
I work with people who are looking to understand themselves better – is this wrong?
I work with people struggling in their relationships – is this wrong?
I work with people who experience anxiety and depression – is this wrong?
I work with people looking for growth, or to address something they are uncomfortable with – is this wrong?
I work with people who are grieving a loss, a loss of sense of self, direction, health, security, relationship, job, or a loss through bereavement – is this wrong?
I work with everyday people, dealing with everyday things. They are you, me, us, everyone.
There is no wrong reason to come into counselling, and a million right ones.
A final reminder
Counselling is a highly effective and proven treatment for mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, but it is also so much more than this. Counselling is not reserved for only those people with ‘huge traumas’ or ‘issues’. It’s a space to be in touch with and discover your authentic sense of self, to explore your needs, to help you understand what you want from life and how you want to live your life. Counselling is an investment in yourself. It’s making sense of your experiences and piecing together how they have shaped you into the person you are today. It’s being curious about your reactions and responses and wondering where they have come from and what they mean. It’s gaining emotional literacy, self-understanding and compassion.
It’s a process of growth as well as a process of healing.
Can you benefit from counselling? Yes.
Do you deserve help? Yes.
Are your problems ‘too small’ for counselling? Not at all.
Are you nervous about starting counselling? Probably, but tell me more about this….and, just like that we’ve started.
If you’ve got any questions about counselling, take a look at my FAQs and other blog posts. If you’ve not found anything useful in there, drop me a message and I look forward to exploring your questions about counselling with you. Ready to start your counselling? Me too, get in touch.