Who Needs Counseling?

“Being in emotional pain is like having broken ribs.   On the outside it looks like nothing’s wrong, but inside every breath hurts” 

I have often been asked “who needs counseling?”  My first response is “likely everyone at some point in their lives.”  There are many reasons people cite for seeking counseling.  Often times, there are as many reasons as people.

People may seek counseling because they are struggling with their own behavior.  Many people get hooked on behaviors that are now causing them problems such as overeating, drugs and alcohol, spending too much, gambling, porn, and cutting.  Sometimes people are struggling with their own feelings and overwhelmed with sadness, grief, worry and fear or a constantly changing mood.

Many people seek counseling because they are having problems in their relationships and interactions with other people.   There are a host of issues including conflict, communication, jealousy, and hurt.  These problems show up in all of our relationships including those we love, on our job, in our neighborhoods or on the street.    Some people are told they need counseling and some even come to help another person.

At the end of the day, what really leads most of us into looking for help is emotional pain.  We are hurting and we want to stop hurting.  We often don’t know how to express that hurt or don’t have someone in our lives that understands.   Maybe we have talked about it and are not getting any relief. 

There has been a stigma to counseling for a long time.  I am from the generation of “One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest” where people with mental illness were portrayed as crazy and insane and need to be locked up.  We may have been raised in a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality and we may think or fear that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  Most of all, we feel that if we seek counseling it means that there is something wrong with us.

None of that could be further from the truth.  We are human beings that experience life and it affects us.  We have an emotional response to life.  Sometimes we have spent all of our energy being strong, that there is none left.  We have the freedom today to not have to just accept our fate and hide our feelings.  Today we get to learn and grow and we don’t have hide from ourselves or anyone else.  What led you to seek counseling?