Being self-aware and having the capability to think and feel emotions with clarity and understanding is part and parcel of being human. Unlike animals, our thought processes rely on far more than instinct alone. Because of this, there is scope for how we think to become a problem and to affect our emotions. If we go back a few hundred years, we can see that psychological issues were approached with fear and unnecessarily invasive treatments. Thanks to science and technology evolution, we now have a clearer understanding of the human brain and can look at these issues differently.
Counseling falls under the umbrella term ‘talking therapies‘ and allows people to discuss their problems and any complicated feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential environment. The time can mean different things to different people, but in general, it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives or explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.
A counselor is not there to sit you down and tell you what to do.
Instead, they will encourage you to talk about what’s bothering you to uncover any root causes and identify your specific ways of thinking. The counselor may then look to create a plan of action to either help you reconcile your issues or allow you to find ways of coping.
Can Counseling Help Solve Your Problems?
“I don’t need counselling.”
“It’s not that serious. I can handle it by myself.”
“I’m fine! It’s my partner who needs therapy.”
Despite what we tend to say aloud, perhaps you’ve secretly wondered to yourself, “Do I need counselling?”
Unfortunately, unhelpful myths and stigmas about mental health and therapy are rampant and stop many people from getting their help.
Counseling is an excellent source of support for people experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. But counseling is also the most effective way to deal with the challenges that everyday life presents.
Speaking to a professional counselor can help you reduce stress, improve your relationships, and reach your personal goals.
Counseling can many problems like,
If you are experiencing difficulties managing your finances or finding yourself falling into debt, it will help talk to a debt counselor or agency. They will help you work out a plan to make changes and link you to different agencies that can offer support.
If you are confused about your gender identity, sometimes called gender dysphoria, it may help speak to a specialist counselor who has done additional training in transgender and sexual diversity issues.
Generally unhappy with your life.
Perhaps there is nothing wrong with your life, but you feel typically depressing and want to talk to someone about your feelings and maybe get help with making changes. The opportunity to speak with a therapist can give you a ‘sounding board’ to help you identify why you are feeling unhappy. The chance to reflect on you and your feelings can be a beneficial exercise to help you acknowledge your achievements and talk about ideas and plans for the future.
Illness and dying
Acute or chronic disease and the end of life will impact the individual concerned and their loved ones. Practical support from nurses and carers may be available, and the hospice movement offers invaluable support. People may feel depressed, angry, and confused (both the patient and those around them), and counseling allows exploring these feelings. A person may want to ‘protect’ their loved ones and not talk about their feelings – counseling can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to talk.
Mindfulness practice is a way of learning how to identify your thoughts and control your mind. A therapist trained in this area will give you the techniques to help you do this, and for many, it becomes a life-long practice that they do for themselves.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
If you cannot stop recurring, negative thoughts coming into your mind, or you have to have to touch or count things or repeat the same action like washing your hands over and over, you may have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). To feel safe and relieve your feelings of anxiety, you develop ‘rituals’ to cope. For example, when you leave the house, you may need to check numerous times that the front door is closed, you may need to count your steps – and if you miss one, start all over again.
Counseling can help identify the source of your anxieties and learn techniques to help you change you’re the obsessive behaviors. If you speak to your GP, they will benefit by referring you to a counselor and may prescribe medication.
Most people will use their own childhood experience and the parenting that they received as a basis for parenting their children. Some people never have the opportunity to experience ‘good’ parenting, and even if they have, they may benefit from extra support in enhancing their parenting skills. It may be practical skills; it may be understanding your child’s behavior and your reactions. Parenting skills can help you to ‘stand back’ from a situation and ask for help to change outcomes.
A phobia is an extreme fear that may seem irrational to others but is very real to the person who has the suspicion. In extreme situations, a phobia may harm an individual and their family. Counseling can help you explore why you have the aversion and how you can control your feelings and reactions to the fear.
Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
After a severe traumatic event, people are likely to feel distressed and can experience symptoms for some time. It is common to feel anxious, angry, emotional, and have difficulty putting the event out of their mind. Some people develop a more severe condition called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. They may experience:
Flashbacks and nightmares – they relive the event in their mind, again and again.
Avoid thinking about it – by keeping busy and avoiding anything or anyone that reminds them of the event.
Feeling ‘on guard’ – they stay alert all the time, can’t relax, feel anxious, and can’t sleep.
Physical symptoms –
- Aches and pains
- irregular heartbeats
- feelings of panic and fear
Counselors are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (Ph.D. / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC). All of them have a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their field. They have been qualified and certified by their state’s professional board after completing the necessary education, exams, training, and practice. While their experience, expertise, and background vary, they all possess at least three years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!