You can make the best use of psychotherapy if you are attending it. Don’t shun it before you try it.
Most people who look down on counselling do so out of ignorance about what counselling or psychotherapy is, or previous unfruitful experience with a therapist. The idea that comes into mind when thinking of counselling is likely:
1. I don’t need advice
2. Another person can’t manage my problems
3. I’ll just be asked about my childhood and parents and how I am feeling
4. I don’t want to talk
5. No one understands
6. I am not crazy
7. This person does not identify with my situation
These are a few of the common misconceptions that people have when they are referred for psychotherapy. Such ideas are huge blocks to the effectiveness of counselling.
1. Counseling is not advice-giving.
First of all, counselling is not advice-giving. Anyone can give you advice. Counselling is a relationship whereby the counsellor facilitates your healing through scientific techniques and guides you toward finding the answers within you. Some of these answers turn out to be the basis of ordinary advice that you may give other people.
Life is like a puzzle, sometimes you fix the puzzle on your own and sometimes the puzzle is complex. In a therapeutic relationship with the counsellor, you will find the missing pieces of the puzzle. You already have the pieces.
The therapist helps you to find the pieces that fit. Then, you have to fix the pieces correctly on your own. A counsellor does not tell you what to do, a counsellor simply points you in another direction which is less destructive than the rest.
2. Your counsellor is not God.
Secondly, a counsellor is not God and will not solve your problems and is not there to solve your problems for you. However, a counsellor will facilitate how you look at the problem and together you can come with possible solutions.
In the end, you make your own choice based on rational choices that may have a psychological impact on you so that you can deal with them. Counselling helps you to surpass perceptions, attitudes, and thoughts which are blocking you from achieving what you desire.
One counsellor-client relationship might not be a good match for you. You can always change the counsellor if you feel like you cannot build a good rapport with one.
Also, counsellors are supposed to refer clients when they consider that they cannot handle your case and it needs someone with specific training or experience.
3. There’s more to therapy than questions
Thirdly, there’s a lot more to therapy than questions. There’s psychometric testing, analysis of mental health status, and applied psychological techniques. If counselling was just about asking questions, everyone can call himself a professional counsellor.
A counsellor’s questions assist both the client and the counsellor to find out problem areas. A counsellor is not a mind reader and they cannot know details about you unless they ask.
So, assuming that a counsellor will just as questions about this and that then diagnose you is totally ignorant. They know what they are doing, and they are basing their dialogue with you on researched models what have worked. The information that the counsellor seeks from you will assist in maintaining objectivity during counselling.
4. You are not forced to talk
Fourth, you do not have to talk until you feel like you can talk. A counsellor can be alone with you in silence if needed. The psychotherapist provides with you with a human presence who is willing to listen to you no matter how absurd you may sound. Counselling is not always about talking only.
But there has to be some communication because how else would a counsellor know what is affecting you? Counselling is a helping partnership and it takes both the counsellor and client’s efforts for it to work. You are not forced to talk.
You are encouraged to talk because talking to someone brings relief and helps you to sort out your thoughts.
5. Counseling seeks to promote mental well-being
Fifth, “no one understands me” is not in itself a true statement. Be specific. Who has failed to understand you? When you assume that the counsellor will not understand you during therapy you’ll be busy watching out for that moment when you can prove that even a trained counsellor cannot understand you, which is possible.
But, will therapy work when you have a negative attitude toward it?
When you begin therapy throw away your stereotypes. That’s in a way your first step toward gaining from therapy. You might be shocked that your counsellor understands you more than you thought because this counsellor is a human being and has probably been through a tough situation that’s so similar to yours.
Even when they don’t understand a counsellor will empathize with you or link you to a support group of people who have similar experiences to yours (e.g. a traumatic event, drug use etc.)
6. Counseling does not mean you are crazy
Sixth, there is this false idea that seeking the help of a mental health therapist means you are crazy. Crazy in the general population means someone who is schizophrenic and seems to have lost complete touch with the way a normal person is expected to behave.
However, counselling is not for the “crazy”, counselling if for those who are able to think, communicate and understand what the counsellor is saying. If “Crazy” is involved, you’ll need the medical intervention of a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.
It’s no secret however that at some point in life people go through things that make them depict some symptoms of a few mental disorders. Consider counselling as a preventive measure and a supportive relationship.
Counselling offers you mental support so that you can go through life and deal with issues that might be impacting negatively on your mental health.
7. Your counsellor is a trained professional
Seventh. Remember, that psychiatrist or psychologist is a trained professional despite gender, tribe, religion, and social or marital status. This is a ‘mind doctor.’ you have the right to ask about your counsellor’s professional qualifications.
Often, counsellors display their certifications and inform you about their level of practice at the beginning of a session. When you go to the doctor’s chances are this doctor has not been through the same pain that you are experiencing due to your disease. But this doctor has the knowledge and necessary training to administer treatment to you which will work.
If you refuse to be treated by that doctor because they are young, of a certain gender, tribe or what, will you get healed? It’s the same with psychotherapy. This person might not understand what you are feeling, but this person knows that what you are going through is painful and unbearable, and is offering to support you throughout till recovery by the use of research-based techniques in the field of human psychology.
Have a positive attitude toward psychotherapy
A negative attitude toward counselling or toward the counsellor on the part of the client reduces the chance of effective therapy. Nevertheless, that is not the only contributing factor. The attitude of the psychotherapist toward the client also has a great impact on therapy.
When a counsellor is unable to form a good rapport with the client because of the therapist’s personal stereotypes, the success of the counselling session might be impeded because the client will easily sense it.
Also, when the counsellor overrides the principles of counselling or psychotherapy, the client will leave more judged and unsafe than in the beginning.
One of the universal principles of counselling is that a client can benefit from it only if they are willing to be in therapy and they genuinely want to change their situation. As the old adage says, you can take a horse to the stream but you can’t force it to drink.
When the psychache is too much to handle on your own, and emotions and thoughts overwhelm you, one of the best interventions is to seek mental health assessment and treatment through psychotherapy and don’t shun it before you try it.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.