WHEN HELP IS NEEDED (Looking at Counselling)
I don’t know whether this is true or not but I’ve heard there are over 250 approaches to counselling. I thought this blog might help sort out the questions one should ask oneself regarding counselling.
When do I go for counselling?
Most people wait too long to go for counselling. By waiting, the problem changes to a crisis making it more difficult to get to the root and make the changes. Depression, chronic anxiety, addictions, abuse of any kind, and various personality disorders are so distressing that they often mask the deeper issues that feed them. Addictions are difficult to break because they seem to ease the pain while adding to the problem.
It becomes a cycle causing the problem to worsen. The more the desire is indulged, the more satisfaction it demands. Whenever an attempt is made to kill the pain with another drink, another trip to the refrigerator, another trip to the mall, another sexual encounter, it is only adding to the pain while ignoring the underlying cause. Often we do not see this happening because our minds are masters of denial and self-deception. (See the blogs on this site about The Life Experience Chain.) Our thinking can become so twisted that our only focus is wanting to feel good or better at any price. We’ve all chosen solutions that have made our problems worse. There are times the outlook on the future becomes hazy when there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of that dark tunnel, when faith and hope falters, and when there seems to be no sense to life, no reason to go on.
The time to seek help is:
- When you feel increasingly discouraged and confused about life.
- When you feel that something is bothering you but you aren’t sure what it is
- When you feel that everyone is against you.
- When you find yourself unable to get a handle on your fear, anger, worry, or sleeplessness.
- When you keep hearing from others that you are being unreasonable, controlling, or insensitive.
- When you find yourself seriously thinking of getting out of your commitment to a relationship or job.
- When you are wrestling with an issue that will have significant effects on yourself and others around you.
- When you are unable to change behaviour that is harming yourself or others. When you have secret compulsions that feel out of control.
- When there is a pain within yourself that is not being resolved by the normal means of asking forgiveness, admitting you were wrong and seeking reconciliation.
- When you are having thought of not wanting to live.
What do I look for in counselling?
Here are some things that are important when deciding to go for help.
- Is the counselling helping to deal with the truth or just supporting what I want to believe? The truth sets us free to be authentic people, people of courage who never pretend. The counselling will not be helpful if it doesn’t uncover the underlying issues causing the problems.
- Is the counsel dealing with the underlying issues or merely focusing on the presenting behaviour? Unseen motives and underlying beliefs shape attitudes and behaviours. It is necessary to peel away the layers of denial and crumble the walls of self-preservation. Good counselling continually asks the question “why?”
- Is the counsel balanced or one-sided? Legitimate desires can become confused with illogical beliefs and unwise strategies. The counsellor must be able to help people to see the difference between legitimate desires and irrational attempts to satisfy those desires. Don’t minimize how strong our own unseen strategies and underlying beliefs can be.
Who should I see for counselling?
There are a number of people from whom you can seek help. Professionals are often sought for help with serious life issues or struggles that are complex and entrenched. Support groups are also a good source for some problem. You can also seek advice from family and friends whom you trust and who are not having serious difficulty in their own lives. A wise person will tell you if the scope of your problems is beyond his/her ability. In all relationships, there needs to be love, mutual honour, and cooperation. The counsellor must care enough to tell the truth in a way that makes you feel the effects of the counselling while at the same time doing this in a deeply respectful manner during the exposure and changing process.
Judith S. Carscadden