by Maria Vanillo, M.S.
My father has been a first responder for over 30 years. His profession has come with numerous sacrifices both he and our family have made. From sleepless nights to difficulties with facing everyday stressors, we all struggled. I learned how difficult it is to ask for help, the misconceptions of receiving assistance, and the ripple effect a problem can have when it goes unsolved.
5 Steps to Asking for Help
Acknowledge there is a problem.
When it comes to family matters’ there is a false belief that a single person is to blame for all the negative aspects of our lives. Therapists who work from a family systems perspective believe that an occurring issue is not because of an individual but the family unit as a whole. Both positive and negative behaviors, thoughts, and emotions are reinforced within families. The negative beliefs loved ones have passed down about mental health, asking for help, and the misconception that vulnerability is a weakness is hurting us. Just because these thoughts are loud and feel true does not make them correct.
Identify safe individuals to speak with.
Finding helpful resources can be frustrating. To find a counselor that suits your needs searching Psychology Today or Inclusive Therapists allows you to specialize your search for a mental health professional. You can also speak with your primary care physician to ask about local referrals and support groups.
Be vulnerable and share what is happening.
Once you have found a clinician you trust, SHARE! Share your thoughts, from fears of what therapy is to what brings you joy. Clinicians are not mind readers and are not making attempts to declare insanity. We ask questions to understand what is happening in your life and provide resources that best suit your needs.
Give yourself grace when working on steps to solve the problem.
It can take years for someone to reach out for help. It takes time for a clinician to provide tools to help you solve the problem.
If you are not ready for the world to know you’re in counseling, that is okay. Voice your concerns to your clinician. They can help you create boundaries when discussing personal matters with others. Privacy is of the utmost importance when conducting sessions. What is shared and what is kept confidential will be discussed during the first session with your clinician.
- You are not alone, and many people are struggling with the same problem you face.
- Talking to a mental health professional does not make you a burden.
- Ignoring the problem does not fix it.
- Not asking for help is scarier than receiving it.
Maria Vanillo, M.S., LPC-Associate, Supervised by Molly McCann, M.S., LPC-S