When did counselling become important?

Even though President John F. Kennedy endorsed the importance of counselling when he signed the Community Mental Health Act in 1963, counselling has been important since the dawn of society. From parents and grandparents advising other family members to community leaders providing guidance to residents, counselling seems to have always been a natural part of the human experience. A lack of knowledge on how to address mental illness can result in the isolation of many people.

Mental health issues can severely curtail an individual’s ability to lead a fulfilling life. They can cloud relationships, family life and careers. Mental health conditions cut across economic, social and racial groups. Issues such as depression and anxiety can affect people of all ages, from children to the elderly.

What can a counsellor help with?

Counsellors are trained to handle most of the problems that you may be facing, be it changing a career, your studies, mental health illnesses or relationship problems. The point is that counselling can help with most problems in life. Communicating with someone who shows empathy and gives you guidance can help with any problem.

Counselling provided by trained professionals can make a profound impact on the lives of individuals, families and communities. This service helps people navigate difficult life situations, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, natural disasters, school stress and the loss of a job. It provides the tools and insights to manage mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Ultimately, counselling empowers people to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Play your part

So one day as I was just going through the motions of what I sometimes face in counselling, I was just asking myself why people expect counsellors and therapists to do all the work whilst they sit and do nothing?

Sometimes people even go to a therapist and lie, playing hide and seek with them as if it’s some kind of a game. But here is my piece of advice, the same way you go to a doctor and be honest about what’s ailing you, is the same way you should be able to be when you go to a counsellor or therapist.

If you tell the doctor that you have a headache whilst it’s your tooth that is sore, you will get medication for a headache and that tooth will remain sore. Same thing if you go to a therapist and lie about certain things, you will only be shooting yourself in the foot because, at the end of the day, you will not get the help you need.

When you go to a therapist, it should be your desire to leave there with your issues resolved and feeling better not the same way you got there.

What should you not tell a therapist?

With therapy, you should tell your therapist as much as possible, even things that are painful to talk about. A therapist helps you make sense of everything in a place that is safe, and therapists are not allowed to tell anyone what you say to them, with a few exceptions of course.

How do you open up to a counsellor?

It can be hard to open up to a counsellor. Here are some ways to help.

  • Start small. Usually, that’s what a counsellor does.
  • Write down some questions or statements to make. You don’t need to fully prepare for a session, but a general idea of what you want to talk about can allow you to open up a little more.

You may start with text counselling, which online counselling tends to offer. Talking to a stranger through text can be easier for some people.

When should you seek counselling?

For everybody, young or old, there are times when we may need help addressing problems and issues that cause us emotional distress or make us feel overwhelmed. When you are experiencing these types of difficulties, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced, trained professional. A counsellor can help you identify your problems and assist you in finding the best ways to cope with the situation by changing behaviours that contribute to the problem or by finding constructive ways to deal with a situation that is beyond your personal control.

Good indicators of when you should seek counselling are when you’re having difficulties with your day-to-day functioning when you are going through pain and it has become unbearable or you are having uncomfortable emotions. However, you don’t have to wait until the pain becomes unbearable or you’re at the end of your rope. You don’t have to be sick to benefit from counselling. Counselling is more than a treatment of mental illness, you can even get counselling on difficulties that are related to normal development.

My advice is, “If you are questioning if you should get counselling that is probably the best indicator that you should visit a counsellor.”

If you need to speak to a professional counsellor, don’t forget to get in touch with Psyche and Beyond.



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