Until quite recently, people were uncomfortable discussing counseling because of the stigma attached by our society. As a result, there are still some fairly big misconceptions about it. Here are 3 of the most common misconceptions about counseling to help you feel more comfortable and hopefully, take that step to seek treatment.

It’s Just Like Talking to Your Friend

While friends are there to listen and support you, they are not equipped to offer real solutions to your problems. Counselors, on the other hand, are uniquely qualified to help you by offering more than just good advice.

Counselors have trained to have a deeper understanding of human nature. They can help you recognize your own behavioral patterns as well as offer tools to make necessary adjustments. They can also help you to gain a fresh perspective on the events of your life and the choices you’ve made.

And finally, we don’t always want our friends or family to know what’s going on in our lives. Because therapy is confidential and because your therapist’s only vested interest in you is helping you improve yourself and overcome your challenges, it is generally easier talking openly with them. Only by being totally honest and transparent about your life and yourself can you hope to create lasting change.

Counseling is All About Blaming Your Parents for Your Current Behavior

Many people assume counseling consists of spending 45 minutes each week blaming their parents for all their problems. Therapy isn’t about playing the blame game, however counselors do have to look at a client’s history to get a clear picture of their experiences and patterns.

While many people new to therapy may not want to spend any time “wallowing in the past,” they must understand that the first phase of counseling is to gather information. A therapist must ask some questions about their new client’s life history in order to truly understand him or her. Past experiences do have a way of shaping our personalities, and while your counselor is not interested in having you lay blame on anyone, you will need to provide a brief psychosocial history in order for the solution-focused therapy to be successful.

You’ll Start to Feel Better Immediately

Many people new to counseling make the mistake of quitting when they don’t feel better after one or two sessions. The truth is, it will take one or two sessions just to tell your story and develop a sense of trust. Therapy shouldn’t be thought of as a quick fix but a process that is unique to each individual. And, it is important to understand that the process won’t always feel good, though it will be completely worthwhile in the end.

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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