The Benefits of Counseling
“Promise me you’ll always remember you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
–Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh
Yesterday I wrote about who may benefit from counseling. Today I thought I would write about what counseling offers and the process itself.
I believe that counseling offers many things and often all at the same time. First and foremost it gives people a professional listener to speak with about their lives. Counselors are trained in active listening. What that means is that we can listen to not only the words you use but often can hear the meaning and emotion behind the words. We can help you clarify your thoughts and often can reflect back to you what you are saying so that you can hear it for yourself. Being truly heard can be incredibly therapeutic.
Counselors are also not friends or family in that we are not emotionally involved in a situation in your life. We can listen more objectively and do not have our own agendas to try and convince you to see our point or manipulate your behavior as often happens in our personal relationships. Counseling is also an environment where it really can be “all about you.” We don’t interrupt you or get you to then listen to our problems which often happen when we try to talk to our friends. We also can offer the time to fully explore your issues and examine it in as much depth as you would like. Counseling is also confidential and you don’t have to be concerned about anyone in your life or community “knowing your business.”
Counseling can also offer education and ideas for managing your issues. We can teach you how to relax, manage your mood, communicate more effectively and help you find a way to create the kind of life you want. We can work on deeper issues and bring some healing where there has been hurt, wounding or trauma.
Most importantly, however, I think the best counseling reminds you of how brave, strong and smart you already are. Sometimes, when we are feeling overwhelmed or thinking very negatively, we forget that we are already armed with many positive traits. Many life experiences that have taught us lessons are with us long before we become adults or begin the counseling process. Sometimes just having someone remind us that we really are capable of many things can be empowering. It is from a place of empowerment, not defeat, that we will make the changes we want to make. How has counseling helped you?