Counselling has the power to transform—and maybe even save—lives. But taking those first few tentative steps into a counsellor’s office isn’t always easy, and spilling your feelings once you get there can feel downright impossible. Counselling remains heavily stigmatised, despite its power to heal you and improve your life. Here are five things you’ll gain when you walk through our doors.
Help Setting and Reaching Goals
It seems simple enough: if you want to live the life of your dreams, you need to reach your goals. But all too often, setting reasonable, achievable goals is anything but easy. Your therapist can help you set clear and specific goals. Rather than the amorphous “lose weight,” you might focus on losing a specific quantity of weight, or eating healthier meals, for instance. From there, your therapist can help you break your goal into actionable steps that will steadily help you work toward your dreams.
An Unbiased Perspective
Have you ever gotten in a fight with your spouse and wished someone was there to tell you who is right and who is wrong? Or maybe you’re never sure whether your chronic anxiety is a predictable reaction to a stressful life, or the obvious product of an anxiety disorder. Your therapist has no biases regarding you or your family, and no reason to sugarcoat the truth. He or she can give you insight into your life, relationships, and behaviour. Equally important, your therapist can help you understand if there’s anything you’re doing to contribute to your challenges. For instance, he or she might notice that you tend to get easily defensive, and point out that this behaviour can make it difficult to have fulfilling, deep relationships with loved ones.
Assistance With Your Relationships
Your relationships play a key role in your mental health. As social creatures, humans are defined by our relationships to others, which means that when your relationships are in trouble, so too is your happiness. Therapy can help you achieve better relationships by offering you family or couples counselling. Even if you opt to go it alone rather than seeking therapy alongside someone else, though, you can still find a way to have better relationships. By improving your mood, communication skills, and awareness of others, therapy can help you steadily work toward better, longer-lasting, and more fulfilling relationships of all varieties.
A Sympathetic and Nonjudgmental Ear
Life is full of people who think they know better than you. Maybe your mother thinks if you lost weight, the rest of your problems would melt away, or your spouse thinks your job—rather than your marriage—is the reason you’re stressed and unhappy. A therapist offers you an open mind and an open ear. He or she will listen to you without judging you, and that alone has healing power because this listening allows you to explore your own thoughts and feelings without guilt or shame. Over time, the sympathy your therapist offers you can help you finally see yourself as a good person worthy of love, support, and compassion. And that’s a winning strategy for a happy life.
Strategies for Managing Your Symptoms
Trying to move past depression, anxiety, or the pain of a divorce can feel like banging your head against the wall. If you’ve been doing the same thing over and over again but haven’t gotten good results, a trained therapist may help you get to where you want to be. You may not know about strategies that work, or you may be too hopeless to try something new. Having someone there to encourage you to keep trying or to adopt a new strategy is often all it takes to get you moving toward recovery again.