9 Reasons counselling might be right for you
What is counselling for? The first issues that spring to mind are usually marital problems, depression, career planning, or grief, however counselling covers so much more than that. People are surprised to learn that my work commonly helps people with self-criticism, perfectionism, negative body image, overwhelm, and the sense of not being 'enough'. The usual response is "Wow. Pretty much everyone struggles with those things". Yep. Counselling can help you through the very normal but tough parts of being human.
Counselling might be right for you if:
You’re having a hard time making a decision
A counsellor won’t tell you what to do, but they will help you to flesh out what options are available to you, and then work through the pros and cons, costs and benefits, of each. You’ll explore your thoughts and feelings about these options, and any ambivalence that might be holding you back from taking action. The goal will be to clarify what you want, and empower you to feel confident in taking the next step that will get you there.
You are struggling with emotions
It’s completely normal for humans to experience a rolling sea of emotions throughout any week. The car won’t start? Frustration. There’s a weird bang in the night? Fear. Someone cuts us off dangerously in traffic? Anger. We have a big presentation looming? Nervousness. These emotions pass, often without problematic impacts. But what if we struggle with particular emotions to a level that's causing problems? What if we have a gnawing sense of anxiety a lot of the time and it’s impacting on our quality of life? A counsellor can help.
You’ve tried improving your situation but nothing has worked and you’ve run out of ideas
Sometimes it takes a new set of eyes and a completely fresh look at a situation in order to come up with new ideas for solutions. A counsellor will listen closely to your problem, what you would like to achieve, what you have tried so far, and your views on why these efforts didn’t work. A counsellor will then ask questions to clarify and expand, and you’ll find yourself thinking of new options and new approaches; think of a counsellor as your fabulous brainstorming teammate.
You don’t have confidential, non-judgemental support you can trust in your life
It’s common for people not to have a safe, confidential space to talk about issues such as work, their relationship, or family. Perhaps you’re worried that your problems will turn into gossip, or be used against you? A counselling session is a protected, calm, confidential space that is dedicated to you, and what you’d like to work through. Counsellors are trained to be non-judgemental and keep everything you say private. We are bound by a code of ethics that stipulates we are unable to divulge clients’ identities, records, or content of sessions (unless you are at risk of harm, you threaten to harm others, or we are forced by a court of law).
You’re Tired of advice and opinions
Have you noticed how common it is for friends or family to provide advice and opinions when you’re simply trying to communicate your problem and express how you’re feeling? This can get really frustrating and can be unhelpful – even if they have your very best interests at heart. Counsellors are trained in being impartial, and refraining from giving advice. A person-centred counsellor will be particularly adept at centring your experience, values, culture, interests, and beliefs, whilst empowering you to lead the content of the sessions. Your counsellor will ask pertinent questions that might enable you to consider new perspectives, and inspire new ideas. She might also share skills and resources that have worked for other clients, however you will always be the expert of your own life – no opinions, no advice, your choice.
You feel like you keep getting in your own way or holding yourself back
Many of my clients come to me because they feel like they are holding themselves back in life by their self-criticism, or self-doubt, or low self-worth. They long to be free of that voice dragging them down all the time. Counselling can help you to no longer be your own worst enemy.
You’ve been repeating a pattern in your life and you can’t seem to break it
Do you have a habit that you just can’t get free of? Do you have a pattern in relationships that you keep repeating? Do you find yourself lamenting, “Oh no I’m here again!”? Counselling can be incredibly illuminating. You might explore how those patterns came to be. Maybe they originally served you well but now they hold you back? Maybe you need new coping tools to replace the old habit? Understanding the why can be an important step in letting go of old patterns.
You’re unsure of what you want to do next in your life, or you are seeking a greater sense of meaning and purpose
If you feel a bit lost, exploring your values and strengths can be an excellent way to clarify where you’d like to steer your life. A counsellor can provide tools in sessions, and between sessions, to help you to explore what makes you you, and what makes your heart sing. Counselling won’t tell you what to do next, it will help you to join the dots for yourself.
You are interested in personal growth
Perhaps you just love growing and learning more about yourself? Many of my clients participate in counselling because they want to enhance their quality of life and make the most of their potential. Counselling increases your self-awareness, emotional skills, and coping tools. You don’t have to be suffering in order to benefit from counselling, you might simply be looking for personal development.