It takes a lot of courage to admit that it’s time to ask for outside help with a personal situation. Many people feel that to do so is admitting defeat, or even worse, that it must mean they’re weak. As a result, many people don’t get past this point because of the shame they feel about admitting there is a problem, let alone that they need help. Yet, if most of us have a problem with our home plumbing, we would not think twice about calling a plumber to help identify the problem and to help solve or alleviate the issue. Counselling or therapy is no different. It involves hiring a person who has made it their professional job to help others sort out emotional and mental life issues they have difficulties with.
Counselling or therapy involves working with someone outside of your usual circle of friends and acquaintances to listen to your point of view regarding the challenging situation you are dealing with. That external person can offer you a range of different ways of looking at your issues and offer different tools you might use to improve your situation. Your role is to be willing to experiment and try out at least some of these suggestions to see if they can make a difference.
If you choose to work with me, the advantage of turning to an outsider for help over someone known to you is that you have a guarantee of confidentiality. With this kind of separation between your personal or work life and the person you are speaking to, you can take the risk to bare your thoughts and feelings with complete honesty. Rather than managing your image with someone from your social or professional circle, you can get on with the more pressing business at hand: sorting out your situation.
Another advantage of speaking with someone who is not in your personal or professional circle is that it is easier to give them a mandate to challenge or confront you, based on their skills and expertise. Chances are, if a partner, relative, friend or colleague tried to tell you the same home truths, you would be more likely to dismiss their suggestions. You would also be more likely to take offence and this can damage your relationship with them.
While a lot of people think of therapy or counselling as being about support, it is about much more than that. It is about resourcing you in ways you may not have thought or known about, helping you to develop a different perspective on yourself, your situation and your role in it, and it is about challenging you as needed.
Often, therapy is about educating us about life and how to get the most and the best out of it. The kind of quality support a good therapist can bring to the table is about challenging the ways you might be working against your own interest; this often means challenging your set ideas and beliefs about the situation. Someone in your friendship network, on the other hand, may feel pressure to preserve the friendship and want to avoid conflict and unpleasantness, and this may be at the expense of honesty.
As your therapist, my priority is first and foremost to reach the goals for which you have engaged me to help you with.
Posted in: Frequently asked questions