Myths about counselling
Here are six common counselling myths that can prove to be a barrier in taking that first step in seeing a counsellor. As we will see, none of them should stop you from getting the support you need.
Myth 1: There must be something wrong with me
“Nobody, as long as he moves among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble.” Carl Jung
This is a very common myth, but there is nothing wrong with someone who approaches a counsellor for help. In fact, to accept help in this way takes an unusual degree of maturity.
We all find ourselves in difficult life situations from time to time – after all, a life without crisis or challenge would be very sterile. Whatever the situation we find ourselves, there is little point in blaming, or labelling ourselves.
Counselling can help us release our inner resources. Learning to accept help indicates a healthy, balanced personality.
Myth 2: Talking about problems just makes them worse
“In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
Our problems can seem far worse when they are left buried in the midst of a busy life. Sharing a problem with a trained counsellor can often lighten the load and provide an emotional release. There is no disguising the fact that sometimes counselling can involve painful self-examination. But you are in charge of that process – you can bring whatever you like to the sessions and choose the pace.
We may need to clarify what we actually believe the problem to be in the first place – a counsellor can help create the right environment for achieving that perspective in an unbiased way.
Myth 3: It is better just to talk to a friend
Many people find that talking to someone who is independent of family and friends actually makes expressing difficult feelings easier. Your counsellor is not there to judge what the right thing to do is in your situation.
In contrast, family and friends may often fall into the trap of giving you advice that may be right for them, but not necessarily for you. They may naturally have the best of intentions, but their personal involvement may cloud their objectivity.
Approaching a counsellor to work with can feel daunting. You are relative strangers at first. But knowing that it is completely confidential can be quite a liberating feeling.
Myth 4: Counselling is a sign of weakness
“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” Sigmund Freud
It takes a brave person to confront what is really on their mind. To seek help from a counsellor is actually a mature sign that you wish to cope better, or develop as a person. Counselling facilitates self-awareness, which is sign of strength, not weakness.
Seeking the right kind of help is also a sign that you take your needs seriously. Talking about how you really feel – and acknowledging what you may want to change – takes real courage.
M,yth 5: Counselling is a self-indulgent waste of money
“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.” Deepak Chopra
The counselling hour is all about you and the difficulties you are facing in life at the moment – it is the chance to say what is really bothering you. But that isn’t the same as being self-indulgent.
Many people have creative insights into themselves and others during counselling sessions. Counselling is also a great catalyst for personal development and is about putting your needs first.
Giving yourself time to develop is a form of nourishment which ultimately pays dividends in all areas of your life.
Myth 6: Counselling won’t work for me
“Am I living in a way which is deeply satisfying to me, and which truly expresses me?” Carl Rogers
The results from counselling tend to be positive, long-term ones. People of all ages report that they become better aligned with their true selves. Their outlook on life’s problems and their own issues may fundamentally shift in counselling.
The experience of change will naturally differ for each person, but it can be said with confidence that personal growth will emerge from the process. For one person that might mean developing a greater capacity for reflection, whilst for another it might mean becoming more comfortable in social situations.
Whatever the case, finding one’s own values and living them authentically is an incredibly rewarding process.
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