Top Mistakes People Make with Counseling
Is your marriage or relationship struggling? Having difficulty with coping with life’s daily stressors? It may be time to consider getting some support through a trained counselor. Feeling hesitant? Use these tips below to prevent yourself from making common mistakes with counseling.
Mistake #1: Believing that Seeking Help Makes You Weak
There are various beliefs about mental health across different cultures and societies. Many times, people develop the belief that seeking therapy is for the weak of mind. This may be related to cultural or familial stigma around mental health struggles and treatment. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In actuality, true therapeutic work takes a lot of courage and commitment from the individual seeking treatment. Facing difficult issues in life and relationships is often the scariest thing an individual can do. This is why it is so important to rely on the support of a professional to help you navigate these torrential waters. If you feel like you have been drowning in the sea of life, think of your counselor as the life raft you need to make it safely to shore.
Mistake #2: Seeking a Quick Fix
Real work takes time. It isn’t realistic to expect life-long change to occur in 1-3 counseling sessions. Unfortunately, many “quick fixes” typically don’t last. If you are able to make significant changes initially, before long you may fall prey to old habits and ways of thinking. It is important to allow your counselor the time to get to know you, your desires, and your goals in order to create an effective plan that promotes change.
Here at LBCC, we recommend a minimum of 8-10 sessions to allow for change to happen. This does not mean you are limited to this timeframe. In fact, many of our clients at LBCC continue past this recommendation because counseling has become a meaningful part of their lives. You need to allow yourself the time and space to heal and grow in your therapeutic journey, rather than rushing through the process.
Mistake #3: Lack of Consistency
How much impact does 45 minutes a week really make on my life or my relationship? The truth is- a BIG one! It is so important to take time for yourself and also for your relationship, especially if you are needing some support. Committing to your weekly counseling sessions is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself or your relationship and is one of the biggest signifiers of progress over time. With consistency and focus, those 45 minutes can become the most meaningful part of your week! It can be difficult to make progress if sessions are intermittent and far inbetween. When this happens, you may find that you lost some of the progress you made over time while you were away.
Mistake #4: It’s Not Me, It’s Them Mentality
Let’s face it. We live in a culture that does not thrive on taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions. It can be tempting to use your counseling sessions to discuss issues with others, or why someone else needs to change. This prevents you from truly benefiting from the process. During counseling, it is very beneficial to examine yourself, your choices, and why those are part of who you are. When you are able to examine yourself from all angles- even the not-so-flattering ones, you can really begin to benefit from the process.
Mistake #5: Pretending to be okay
How many times has someone asked how you’re doing and you responded “I’m fine”? Meanwhile, you may actually be dealing with crippling anxiety, or traumatic memories. It is never a good idea to hide how you are really doing from your counselor. This can prevent them from really knowing what is going on and being able to intervene to provide assistance. Had a bad day? Tell them. Anxious thoughts keeping you awake? Tell them. Honesty is one of the most important pieces of the relationship with your counselor and it can become a safe place where you can truly express what you are feeling if you allow it to be.
Mistake #6: Stalling Rather Than Calling
Many times, people consider seeking help, but do not reach out right away. It may be a financial concern, time constraints, or lack of willingness from your spouse or partner. If you feel like you need some support- don’t wait! Getting help now can greatly benefit your life or your marriage. If you are hesitant or have questions about the process, be open about communicating that when scheduling your session or with your counselor when you meet them. At LBCC, we are committed to answering your call from 9 to 5 weekdays as long as we are available.
Ready to find the perfect counselor for you? Reach out to our office today to schedule your first appointment! Written by Holly Rohring, MS, Licensed Professional Counselor at LiveBeyond Counseling at the Keller-Fort Worth location.