Why Counseling Can Benefit You

Photo by CC user Tim Green on Flickr.

Counseling is nothing new in the adult world. More than half of all Americans have had some mental health treatment. There is no shame in admitting you have had treatment for a mental health issue. Even celebrities are open about their issues – Catherine Zeta-Jones freely admits she suffers from bipolar and Kanye West was recently admitted to UCLA following a psychotic episode.

Seeking a Counselor

Regular sessions with a trained professional counselor can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Most people seek counseling when they are going through a challenging period in their life. This could be anything from a nasty divorce, bereavement, or work stress. Whatever the reason, a counselor can help you explore difficult emotions in a safe environment.

Counselors have to undergo rigorous training. Counselors often have a degree in counseling, followed by online masters in counseling programs, but there are other routes into the profession. What’s important is that the counselor you see has professional training.

How Counseling Works

Anyone can offer advice, but this is not what counselors do. A trained counselor will listen to you and gently help you find solutions to your problems. They are not there to offer solutions; rather, a counselor is trained to help you talk through your issues and come to your own conclusions about what happened and why.

All counselors have their own way of doing things, but the framework is always the same. You will meet with a counselor in a quiet, comfortable room, for a pre-determined period. Online counseling sessions via Skype is another option.

Think of counseling as a therapeutic conversation with someone who genuinely cares. They are not there to judge you or make assumptions about your actions. A counselor has to remain neutral at all times and they are trained to be non-judgmental. The only exception is if you tell them you have committed a crime; in this instance, the counselor is obliged to report the conversation to an appropriate authority, although they will warn you first.

Different Types of Counseling

Counseling can help in any number of circumstances. People suffering from depressive illnesses often find talking therapy is very useful, as it provides a safe outlet for them to talk about their difficult feelings and emotions.

Relationship counselors are also much in demand, with marital breakdown very common. Couples can refer themselves for counseling if they want to make their relationship work better, or they may be referred to a marriage counselor by the court, as a final attempt to avoid an expensive divorce.

Family counseling is another area of therapy you may come across. Most families have problems at one time or another. Children can be badly affected by relationship breakdowns and teenagers can cause havoc. Family counseling helps kids deal with emotional strife and gives parents a ‘toolkit’ to help them cope with their children’s behavioral problems. Kids also have access to a counselor at school, if needed.

Before engaging a counselor, always check their professional accreditations.