Summary: You do not have to be mentally ill or in crisis to see a counsellor.
When people come for counselling, their goals usually relate to one of the 3 C’s of counselling: coping, communicating and creating. If you want to cope better with difficult situations, communicate better with colleagues and significant others, or create a better tomorrow for yourself, counselling might be a good fit for you.
Let’s look at those reasons for counselling again, one at a time. Keeping in mind any one of these goals could be a good reason to seek counselling.
Coping with difficult situations.
Everyone experiences difficulty, struggling at one time or another to make it though even the simplest of tasks, struggling to put on a good face in spite of inner turmoil. The difficulty has different names – depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, conflict, and so on. The struggle can be short term or long term, physical or mental, and efforts at medication, self control, self discipline, self help fall short. The difficulty may be diagnosed with an official label, or deeply secret and personal to you. All your education, training, web surfing and reading leave you with a pile of information and no relief.
Counselling helps you cope in at least four ways.
- Takes you out of yourself, helping you discover new perspectives on issues you face. Did you see the frequent mentions of “self” above? Counselling reminds you you are not alone.
- Places you in the context of a care team – i.e., you, your counselling provider plus any trusted others you bring into your circle.
- Draws upon a concrete body of knowledge that your therapist knows how to put into practice, bringing your knowledge from the abstract to the concrete. Think of your therapist as a partner or a team mate in that regard.
- Matches you with a modality that includes coping techniques – achievable goals you can learn to reach with the help of some coaching. For example, DBT or dialetical behvaioural therapy lists dozens of methods or “skills” to learn and practise for coping and dealing with difficult emotions. DBT focuses on four areas of Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness.
Communicating better with important people in your life.
All life is about relationship and connection. Humans are made to relate to one another, depending upon different relationships and interpersonal transactions not only to feel loved and valued but to succeed in life. Very often, one’s difficulties stem from a person’s imperfect communication skills, or, on the case of a couple, in their inability to effectively communicate with each another. Counselling helps a person develop effective communication skills in any sphere in life they would like to target.
- A goal of TFEC’s co-parenting classes is help co-parents communicate well.
- Our anger management classes promote finding healthy ways of communication, of getting one’s point across without allowing intense emotions to sabotage conversation.
Creating a better future for yourself
Former Monty Python actor turned philosopher, John Cleese, says creativity is the optimal mode of living. It is living life in a state of flow or play. Creating a better future for yourself means proactively working on yourself and your relationships to maintain a state of mental health before things begin to go wrong. So that when they do, you already have those coping and communication skills in place. Mental health is just as important as physical health. People visit their doctor not just to get well, but to stay well. What an excellent reason to visit a counsellor too. (As an aside, most insurance plans reimburse counselling at TFEC, with or without a doctor’s referral. If you are considering counselling and whether your insurance provider will pay for it, check with them before booking an appointment.)
There you have it, three reasons to book a counsellor. We hoped you learned something. And if you didn’t we hope you do once you start therapy!
In 2022, why not give yourself the gift of Counselling?
Remember counselling is not something others do for you, it is a gift you give yourself. You move towards your objectives at a pace that you set. The counsellor’s job is to help you find the inner tools and motivation to move forward.