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  • Writer's pictureSian Miller

Is Starting Counselling Right for You? What to Consider Before Beginning Therapy.



You’re feeling troubled. Something is nagging at you or preventing you from being at peace with your life. Sometimes, the situation feels desperate, but taking the next step to seek help seems overwhelming.  You are not alone in this.


Hesitant about starting therapy?


Perhaps there is a concern that the issue will not be seen as serious enough to share with a professional counsellor. Talking to a stranger might feel awkward. There may be a fear of opening up and then feeling judged or shamed. Sometimes, we might just want to feel that we are strong enough to sort it out ourselves.


Regardless of the wonderful work that’s going on to de-stigmatise mental health issues, asking for help may still be perceived as a weakness, and in a social-media world that worships beautiful people living perfect lives, it can be so hard to acknowledge that things aren’t quite working that way for us. It’s difficult to expose our own vulnerabilities, but the rewards for those who are able to learn to do this are considerable.

 

There may be other fears too. A fear of having to sit with emotional pain, and being overwhelmed by it. Some will try to cope with this by pretending the pain is not there: Not thinking about it. Avoiding it. But it sneaks back in when we’re not looking. It comes back to bite us when we drop our guard! Yes – sometimes it’s hard to process feelings, but a trained counsellor will help you to titrate those feelings so that they can be dealt with and neutralised in a manageable way.


For some, the situation may feel hopeless. If you can’t resolve the issue, who can? But counselling can bring insight by helping to make the unconscious conscious and bringing new light to the dark recesses of our minds. It can bring the hope back! Perhaps you’ve had counselling before, and it didn’t suit you. Rather than be put off, ask yourself why it didn’t work out that time. Did you feel heard by your counsellor? Did your counsellor empathise with you? Was there enough time to explore your issues in depth and to resolve them? Use the lessons learned to inform your decision this time around. Research has shown that the development of a strong therapeutic relationship between counsellor and client is one of the the biggest factors in determining successful outcomes. The trust and connection you have with your counsellor is going to be fundamental in helping you achieve your goals, so feel free to talk to a few counsellors before making a final decision. Ask questions and check in with your gut instinct.


Finally, there’s the investment in time, money and self-reflection. Yes – there’s no denying - it can be a big investment! And of course, its for you to decide whether it’s worth it. How much is peace of mind worth to you? What would you give to quell your anxieties or improve your relationships? What value do you put on your own self-esteem and confidence? “You’re biased!” I hear you say. But as someone who has already made that investment and reaped the rewards, I would be!

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