You should be careful or even skeptical about going for counselling. It's a big step that costs money, takes time and asks you to be honest with yourself. What are the upsides?
Some of these reasons for counselling might not apply to you, but maybe one of them fits your situation.
1. Possibility of Huge Positive Change
A moment of crisis can be when you make a big breakthrough for improving your life. Few people can make a big breakthrough just by thinking through everything in their own heads. Usually, we need input from someone else. Sometimes you can sort out problems just by talking with an experienced friend or mentor. For focused help, counsellors are specialists in helping you identify all the pieces of your puzzle.
I often work with individuals who come to counselling at a moment when they are ready for change, ready to try something new. I help them explore the opportunities. I also offer some well-tested tools for change. Often they experience dramatic improvements in stress levels, relationships or career direction.
2. Learn New Skills
Just like physical skills that we use in sports, trades or professions, there are skills for thinking better and even for managing emotions. Our minds get into habits of thinking that trap us into mental suffering. Anxiety is like that. Counselling for anxiety usually brings significant improvement just by using some skills of thinking. The same happens when we are stuck in a pattern of behaviour. We know we should change, but something always keeps us doing the same. New thinking skills take practice, just like in a sport. A good counsellor can help you stay on track, in the same way a coach helps athletes train for performance.
3. Break Bad Habits
We are often blind to our own mistakes. Some habits of thinking and reacting seem normal to us as we go through the day, but stopping to examine our own patterns reveals where we could replace an old habit with something new. Guilt and shame about our mistakes can shut us down and make us feel hopeless about change. A counsellor can help ease the rough moments of identifying bad habits so guilt and shame don't defeat you.
4. Understand Where You Came From
This is not as complicated as it sounds; here is the simple version. All of us have been shaped by what happened to us when we were younger. Even as children, we learned ways of getting through hard times with our limited abilities. But sometimes, the way we learned to cope back then has stuck with us in the form of habits and thinking and acting that don't work with our adult situations. Your experiences might have, for example, led you to the habit of trying to hard to please people, or isolating yourself, or getting angry, or avoiding being honest, or something else like that.
The right counsellor can help you connect the dots between then and now. As you understand yourself better, you can focus on the right kind of growth and change.
5. Save a Relationship
Very few people are naturally good at relationships. I don't really know why. Most of us have to learn the hard way. The good news there is a fantastic payoff for getting a relationship working. Having a good supportive connection with your partner brings happiness and love. That's what we all want.
Couples counselling gives you a chance to reset. A counsellor will work to help you look underneath all the conflicts and arguments so you can understand each other again. You can learn to reach for each other without creating defensiveness and stonewalling.
Dixon Zalit is a counsellor in Vernon BC, offering counselling for stress and anxiety, relationships, and other self-management topics.