No matter what the topic is, there seems to be myths out there about it. Whether it’s that gum takes 7 years to digest once swallowed, or that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. Not exactly sure why myths are created, but I do have some thoughts about the counseling myths I’ve heard over the years. Not sure what roots these counseling myths were originated in, but my thoughts are that they were created by people who were afraid to take the step into personal growth, and/or who had a negative experience in counseling.
BELOW ARE 5 MYTHS DEBUNKED BY ME (THE ORIGINAL MYTH BUSTER).
1. COUNSELING MAKES PEOPLE TOO FOCUSED ON THEMSELVES
It’s true that counseling involves reflecting on your thoughts, feelings, choices, and relationships and increasing your self-awareness. But the point of all that increased awareness is to allow you to make more informed choices about what’s important to you, how you get your needs met in the world, and how you impact other people. While it does take a certain amount of self-reflection, it often results in you being more attuned to and present with other people in your life.
Taking care of yourself actually frees you up to be a better friend, partner, parent, and colleague.
2. COUNSELING WILL COST ME A FORTUNE
If you aren’t being reimbursed by your insurance company, counseling services can add up. But it is worth it! You are investing in your future. Before you say “it’s too pricey,” think about the cost of NOT doing therapy. Possible decline in job performance? Continued stress in relationships? Feelings of dissatisfaction with yourself and your life?
3. A COUNSELOR WILL FIX MY PROBLEMS RIGHT AWAY
The goal of counseling is not for someone else to “fix” your problems. Counselors are here to help you to identify those concerns and to set new goals for yourself. In therapy you will solve problems by working with with your counselor to explore your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. In doing so, you can explore all your options and make a decision as to how to best achieve your goals. In the end, YOU know yourself the best, therefore YOU are the best one to “fix” your problems!
4. ASKING FOR HELP IS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS
Contrary to this belief, it takes a great deal of emotional strength to seek help for problems that may be too overwhelming to manage by yourself.
5. A COUNSELOR CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH, BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT GOING THROUGH IT THEMSELVES
Each individual is unique, and no other human being sees the world exactly as you do. To achieve a complete understanding of your specific situation would be impossible. However, counselors have years of extensive training that allows them to learn about, be sensitive to, and respect each and every one of your unique experiences.
Shannon Gonter is a professional counselor in Louisville, KY who works with young adults and specializes in men's issues. She strives to create a counseling environment that men and young adults can relate to, feel heard in and find new solutions to their negative patterns in. Learn more about her and the services she provides at www.therapybyshannon.com.