There are a lot of reasons that people choose to seek counseling. The benefits of counseling can be unending, but sometimes making the first appointment can be hard. Maybe you’re thinking about whether it would be helpful, but are not sure if it’s for you. Let’s talk about some of the reasons counseling can help and why it can be for you.
Saying a problem or concern out loud feels relieving. Having the opportunity to process through why something is troubling or hurtful can really take the pressure off yourself and prevent you from carrying the worries around with you. Talking out our thoughts and emotions helps us make sense of them and naturally reduces the amount of stress they cause.
The therapy office is a judgment-free, safe zone. Rather than placing judgment on you, your therapist will be working to understand your experience and empathizing with you. Therapist understand that all people think and react differently to all kinds of situations in life; judgments are unhelpful because they stop the ability to fully understand.
Unless the therapist believes you are a danger to yourself or someone else, everything you say in the therapy office is confidential and private. Wait – the therapy office is judgment-free and confidential? Yep! That means you can talk openly and share feelings, thoughts, and experiences that you’ve felt shameful or scared to talk about in the past. You don’t have to worry about whether your secret will travel through the grape vine – it will not. What you say in there, stays in there.
Feeling accepted and understood is crucial to well-being. We all seek genuine acceptance and acknowledgment of our emotions. In therapy, your therapist will want to help you feel accepted and understood in the counseling office and in your life. We don’t have control of other people and their behaviors, but the therapist can help you accept yourself and build self-confidence. Your therapist will want to help empower you to advocate for yourself, love yourself, and learn how to trust your emotions.
It’s important to pick a therapist who you can align with best. Often you can choose gender, age range, and specialty focus. Once you start therapy, you will begin to build a relationship with your therapist. Over time you will see that your therapist is a human, just like you. Your therapist is not your friend, but they do serve an important role in your life to help you uncover and change unhelpful patterns you may experience. Your therapist may play a part in helping you be more direct and advocate for yourself, or the relationship can sometimes be helpful in changing the way you view other relationships. For example, you may realize that not every person will judge you or invalidate your emotions. Overall, therapy can help you realize there is someone out there who understands you. Maybe you’ve tried therapy and didn’t like your therapist; that does happen. Try again! There is a therapist out there for everyone.
At the end of the day, the choice to seek counseling is your own. Rather than feeling like you “should” seek counseling, tell yourself you CAN seek counseling. Empower yourself that the road to feeling better is in your hands. Counseling is not a “one size fits all.” Instead, it is an experience that is tailored to suit you and your needs. Making the first appointment can be challenging, but once you show up, your therapist will do his or her best to understand and help.