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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

3 Reasons Why I Believe in Counseling (and why I think everyone should go)

I've been to counseling during two different points in my life when I was dealing with things that had gotten far out of my control.  The first time was in college when I had an uncontrollable sexual addiction.  The second time was this year when I felt like my marriage was a wreck.  Both times I met with female counselors who cared about me, who cared about my problems, and who were able to help.  Here's why.

Is counseling actually worth it? | Lindsay Eryn
image by colinlogan

#1 Counselors are trained to assess and help with the situation.
One of the things I appreciate most about my counselor is how well she listens and how well she's able to pick out patterns in the situations I tell her about.  She'll say, "Ah, Lindsay, it sounds like you often have this reaction to such and such."  Then I'll say, "Oh my gosh, you're right!  I do that a lot!"  Not only is she an unbiased outside opinion, but she knows how to listen and analyze well.  It's her job!  This is what she studies!  Counseling isn't just a time to get things off your chest.  It's a time to get things off your chest, have someone help you sift through what's happening, and then have someone help you look for patterns, options, and solutions. 

#2 Counselors offer a safe environment where you can vent without offending.
No matter what I say in my counseling sessions, I'm not going to hurt anyone's feelings.  I get plenty mad at Caleb sometimes, and I've learned that ranting to him about what's made me mad is a pretty bad idea.  Ranting to my counselor, on the other hand, means that I can speak my mind, examine my my thoughts and emotions, and find what's really bothering my without exposing Caleb to all the unnecessary stuff and unnecessary hurt.  Talking with my counselor about things helps me separate the dross from the actual issue in a private space where no one gets hurt more.

#3 Counselors are 100% there for you.
I talked with my BFF Millie a lot about my marriage this year, and she was able to offer a lot of insight, but after a while, I felt guilty for wanting to talk about my problems all the time.  In my counseling sessions, though, I am there to talk about my problems.  I don't have to ask my counselor about how her week has gone.  I don't have to be a listening ear to her in return.  I'd love to be her friend, but it's a relief to not have the responsibility of friendship when I'm in my counselor's office.  Because I don't have to invest in my counselors life, we're able to focus completely on what I need to talk about.  It sounds weird, but it's actually very freeing.

Bonus: Everyone needs counsel.
Everyone has problems.  If you're not in the midst of one now, you've probably just come out of one or you might be going into one.  And when problems come, it's always best to have a support system.  Someone to listen and encourage, someone to point out where you're making mistakes and where you should rethink things, someone to validate your thoughts and emotions.  Whether you have your parents, your best friend, a mentor, or a counselor, you do need a support system and their counsel.

Asking for counsel is not a sign of weakness, and asking for counsel shouldn't only happen when things finally get out of control.  I would have loved to have avoided my rough spots, but I didn't get help in the beginning.  It took me months, and in the first case, years to reach out for help.  Don't let my story be your story.  There are trained professionals who would love to help you work through your life.  Don't be an idiot and try to do it all on your own.

There.  I said it.  Don't be an idiot and try to do it all on your own.
(I totally love you guys, and I totally mean this.)

I know that counseling isn't something people usually talk about, and I know it's often viewed as a last resort or as something you need only if you're broken.  I want to shed light on how helpful and what a relief counseling can be, and if you'd like to talk more about it, feel free to email me personally (lindsayeryn {at} gmail.com) or leave a comment below.

We are all broken to some degree, and we are all in need of a support system.  Counselors are able to meet you wherever you are on that scale of brokenness, and they can help mend whatever needs healing, even the small and embarrassing things.  I urge you to think about this and to change your perspective on counseling if need be.  It shouldn't have the stigma I've seen it have in society.

2 comments:

  1. I believe in counseling . I have always sought help because it's hard to do it on my own. My first counselor was my mother. It feels so good to lighten your chest to someone who ACTUALLY understands.

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    Replies
    1. So glad to hear you have a healthy view of seeking help when you need it and that you have a good sharing relationship with your mother. :) And yes, I feel so validated when someone actually listens and cares about all the things I need to get off my chest.

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