Despite research that proves the efficacy of counseling, and although we know intellectually that all humans experience struggle and suffering, there is still an unfortunate stigma associated with going to therapy. In our society, it may seem easier (and less stigmatized) to appear as though everything is fine or to numb painful emotions through alcohol or drug use, food, technology, gossip or social media, or to simply “deal with it” on our own. Certainly, it can be difficult to admit that we have a problem or need outside help.
Perhaps when we think of therapy, we think that it is only a place for those with major mental illness or more “serious” problems. Certainly, those struggling with mental illness or diagnosed disorders benefit from therapy, but so can people working through challenging situations or difficult times in their life. Counseling can offer a powerful resource for individuals and families struggling with a variety of issues including stress, anxiety, depression, transitional issues, career exploration, financial problems, health or diagnosis issues, grief, trauma, getting married or divorce, caregiving, aging, relational struggles, parent-child issues, and more. Following are a few reasons to consider giving counseling a try.
A safe, nonjudgmental space to grow and heal
Unlike your best friend, partner, or family member, a good therapist will maintain a nonjudgmental and accepting attitude regardless of what you say or what your life experiences are. They are there to provide unbiased feedback and ensure that you are heard and that your therapeutic needs are met.
Uninterrupted “me time”
Although our attention is usually divided in many directions, therapy is a place where you can focus strictly on your own needs, desires, goals, and issues, or that of your relationship(s). It is time for personal reflection and growth, to look at what is and isn’t working in your life, to explore your strengths, and to become more insightful about your inner world.
A confidential place to share your experiences and secrets
We all have stories and worries that we are scared to share with those we love because of how they might react should they know. Or, maybe we don’t feel like they would understand or know how to respond. Therapy can offer a confidential place to receive emotional support and talk about those things that are painful, challenging, or that feel “unspeakable”.
Learn tools, heal past losses or experiences, and gain perspective
Counseling can help you become unstuck, look at troubling relationships, deal with unhelpful patterns, and grow in all areas of your life. Whether it is learning how to better ask for what you need or exploring a new career path, therapy can enhance life and improve relationships. As you learn new skills, therapy provides a safe environment in which to practice them and get feedback.
Experience increased joy, richer relationships, and a more meaningful life
Sometimes we become out of balance or need a slight “tune-up.” Whether it is a shift in how we view things or specific behavioral changes that need made individually or within our family/marriage/relationship, counseling can help us make the adjustments that we need to live happier, fuller lives.