It is said we fear the unknown, which is why many people shy away from receiving therapy. It can be intimidating walking into your counselor’s office for the very first time, not knowing what to expect.

On the flip side, some people assume they know everything about counseling and are then quite surprised when receiving treatment.

The thing is, though counseling is not as stigmatized as it once was, it is still not talked about in most social circles. And so many people have the wrong ideas about it. If you’ve been considering seeking help from a mental health professional, you most likely have some questions as well.

With that in mind, here is what no one tells you about counseling – but should!

It’s Not Like on TV

Pop culture would have you believe the minute you step foot into a counselor’s office, he or she will have you looking at Rorschach tests and talking about your dreams within minutes.

While these approaches can be used in counseling, they more than often are not. Dream interpretation can come up, but typically only if the client wants to discuss an interesting or disturbing dream they had.

Also, many people think the entire session is devoted to discussing your early childhood years and the effect your parents have had on your life. While many therapists will want to get a history on you to uncover specific behavioral patterns and emotional memories that have helped wire the brain, the idea of therapy is NOT to blame your parents for all of your current troubles.

You Won’t Feel Better Immediately

Though the end goal of counseling is to create better habits and behaviors that lead to creating a happy and fulfilling life, the process of getting there will sometimes be uncomfortable. It is unrealistic to expect you will feel better immediately. Therapy takes time and commitment.

You Have to Want to Change

You can seek advice from a nutritionist and personal trainer who will give you the tools to get fit and healthy. But if you don’t take their advice and you don’t do the work, you won’t see results.

Counseling isn’t magic, but it does provide you with the tools for lasting change.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

Priscilla Hurd, LPC, M.Ed.

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