Counseling: A Choice That Can Change Your Life
Is counseling right for you? As we continue through the year and winter turns to spring, the question presents “Is counseling right for me right now?’ In an interview with Just Stay Curious, Jane Travis talks about self care, and her choice to start counseling almost 30 years ago.
“Although counseling was hard for me, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I wasn’t used to talking about myself. I wasn’t used to thinking about myself. I didn’t like myself very much. In fact, there was little about me really that I liked at that time. Over time, things changed. So I started to like myself a little bit better, forgive myself for things I thought I’d done wrong, and just being a little less hard on myself, really.” Jane Travis.
Reasons to Consider Counseling
There are many reasons to consider counseling. They can include any of the following:
· Family issues;
· Feeling unimportant or invisible;
· Eating disorders;
· Self medication due to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs;
· Grief and loss;
· Relationship issues; or
· Feeling dissatisfied with life.
What Counseling Entails
Jane Travis tells us in her interview, “It takes courage to seek out counseling. . . Take a leap of faith.” Counseling involves a guided process of self discovery. The goal is to learn how to more effectively deal with the situations that life presents. Counseling can’t necessarily change your environment. Rather, it can give you the strength and clarity needed for you to change your environment. This could be true, for example, if you are in a toxic relationship, or are making poor choices about how you treat your body. In other cases, such as dealing with grief and loss, anxiety, or stress, counseling can give you the tools you need to deal with these stressors in a more productive manner.
The idea of counseling is to learn about yourself, your self talk, the way you treat yourself, and the way you treat others. The counselor will listen and provide feedback. The counselor may ask you to consider whether your self talk is accurate, and may challenge your presumptions and assumptions. The counselor may assist you in setting goals for yourself. Your counselor may also ask you to do some exercises outside of counseling.
Who Benefits From Counseling
Life is full of opportunities to learn and improve ourselves. No matter how much you know, there is always more to learn. If you are reading this, you must have some interest in the subject. Counseling will help anyone more fully enjoy their life as they tackle whatever challenges there are facing. It can also help you feel more at peace with your life. It can provide clarity as to what your goals are or could be. Counseling also teaches you new ways to problem solve or respond to situations.
How to Find a Good Counselor
Finding a counselor is not hard. Finding a good counselor is a bit more of a challenge. There are a couple of strategies you can employ to put yourself at an advantage in finding not just a counselor but a “good counselor.” First and foremost, ask friends and family for a referral. If you know someone who is seeing a counselor or has seen a counselor, ask them what attributes they like about the counselor.
You may have a greater comfort level with one gender over another. If you feel you’d best be treated by one gender over another, respect that. Understand that there are different types of counseling. Cognitive therapists work differently than behavioral therapists, for example. Family systems therapists meet different needs than solution oriented therapies. Do some research online to discover what approach a potential therapist might take. Consider your needs.
Give yourself permission to interview different counselors. You can go for one meeting and decide whether you and the counselor would be a good fit. Or you can interview them over the phone. A cautionary note, however. Effective counseling requires growth and change. Growth and change can often feel uncomfortable. Finding the balance between finding someone you are comfortable with, and recognizing when the discomfort comes from growth, can be a challenge. You can feel free to talk to your counselor about finding this balance. It’s perfectly normal.
Counseling as a Form of Self Love
Counseling is an excellent form of self love. It allows you to take care of you. Why not consider starting a new self-care challenge? Discover what counseling may do for you.