We all go through struggles in life. We experience job loss, break ups, deaths, illnesses, and many other difficulties. We move through these life events the best we can, which may look different from one person to the next. We all have coping skills, or tools, to deal with the way we feel. Some coping skills are healthy, such as exercising and some can have negative consequences, such as eating junk food. Regardless, we engage in such activities to change the way we feel.
Many people are unfamiliar with counseling. The limited information most people have about counseling comes from movies, television, and occasionally from someone they know. Counseling may seem intimidating or pointless, depending on one’s perspective. People make comments ranging from, “Why would I want to talk to a total stranger about the most painful parts of my life?” or “How will talking change things?”
There are a lot of misconceptions that need to be cleared up before proceeding. First, most counselors’ objectives in treatment are not to tell you how to live your life or what decisions you should make. After all, you are the expert of your life. However, counseling provides you with a safe place to explore your thoughts and decide what you want to do. We often talk to our friends our family members about our problems. While friends and family want to be supportive, it’s difficult for them to remove themselves from the situation. We’ve all been there, reaching out to our best friend to discuss something someone did to upset us and they respond by saying, “What you need to do is….” What we really want is to be heard. That’s one of the many things counseling offers, an outsider perspective with no judgment. This frees the client to see how they really feel about the situation.
“So, counselors just listen… how can that help?” Counseling offers more than just a fresh perspective and an empathetic ear. We also are highly trained with tools and concepts to help you change your way of thinking, reduce anxiety, conquer depression. So many people go through life unsatisfied, struggling with the day to day grind. It doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes one small adjustment can make all the difference.
“But, don’t I have to have a disorder to go to counseling?” More people go to counseling than one would think. People that you know from work, church, and school. People just like you. People choose to go to counseling for all kinds of different reasons. Counseling is for people that want to improve and that are willing to make changes to get to a better place. Counselors support you on your growth journey and empower you to meet your goals.
Scripture that reminds us that everyone needs help sometimes:
At Rephidim, Amalek came and fought against Israel. Moses said to Joshua, “Select some men for us and go fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the hilltop with God’s staff in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword. (Exodus 17:8-13)
By: Hilary Musgrove, MA
Covenant Counseling Center