Although nothing is certain in life, there are things that we can count on and one of those things for me, is that at some point in my future I will need counselling again. I’ve been through counselling several times, sometimes because I desperately needed it and sometimes as a preventative measure, but each time it was incredibly helpful and I don’t regret doing it for a second.
First things first, I’d like to point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with needing or getting counselling. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, people have been doing it for years and as long and you go into it with an open mind, the benefits will be well worth any stigma you may have put on yourself. Counselling isn’t limited to mental health issues, you can get it for relationships, career advice or just general stress relief as well. There are plenty of high functioning mentally sound people out there who have a counsellor just so they can debrief with someone neutral about the stress of living in the modern world. I had a counsellor once who told me it was her belief that everyone should have a counsellor and I couldn’t agree more.
The thing about counsellors is, they aren’t ‘one size fits all.’ Some specialize in different areas, others offer general counselling, but the biggest part about them is that you need to be comfortable with them. If you don’t click with them, you aren’t going to benefit from their services. Like with everything else in life, when it comes to counselling you don’t have to settle for the first one that comes along. Some people prefer a female, some a male. You might be more comfortable with someone older, and you may prefer someone who will come to you as opposed to going to their office. At the end of the day it is a persons choice who they want to divulge their feelings to and you dont have to feel bad for not clicking with everyone. Counselling is designed to help, so the best way is to have it is your way.
There have been a couple of times that I have requested new counsellors. It was nothing personal against the person who I was seeing at the time, it was simply that I didn’t feel at ease with them after the first couple of sessions. I’ve found the best indicator for whether or not a counsellor is going to be able to help me, is how I feel when I leave the first session. I always feel mixed emotions when leaving every session, some good, some bad, some where I even cry for a while before starting the car, but if I don’t feel like some of the weight has come off my shoulders after that first session then I know that I need to see someone else.
Another way I decide if a counsellor is right for me is by how at ease I feel during the session. This is harder to judge, as the sessions can be quite confronting and therefore make me tense throughout, but often it’s the subject matter that makes me tense as opposed to the counsellor themselves.
Counsellors are supposed to be neutral. Their job is not to fix your problems, but to listen, and help you come to your own conclusions of how to deal with what life is throwing at you. They can offer relaxation techniques, advice and help you come up with plans of attack but they cannot tell you what to do, laugh at you, make you feel stupid or judged for what you are talking about. If at any point you do feel this way, it’s time to see a new counsellor.
Smiles and Sunshine