3 Biggest mistakes people make when seeking counselling

by rodney on July 15, 2013

Woman-on-couch-006I hear a lot of negative attitudes out there about counselling.  A lot of people have the belief that counselling doesn’t work and that all counsellors are frauds, scammers and I’ve even heard us referred to as do- gooder hippies.

Counsellors are just like any other professional. You get some really good ones, get some that are not as good as others and some which just do things differently than the next. A lot of these negative attitudes  come not from the quality of counselling people have received in the past but because their experience didn’t match their expectations.

These expectations have been formed over time by a lot of misinformation about the process of counselling and counsellors in general. There has been many parodies of counselling over the years which help to reinforce these negative beliefs and many high profile television Doctors which help to generalise the process. Not all counsellors are as abrupt and direct as Dr. Phil!

So, in order to help you have more realistic expectations around counselling, I’m here to set the record straight. Here are the 3 biggest mistakes people make when seeking counselling.

Expecting counsellors to fix

It’s not like going to the mechanics where you bring in your car and the mechanic will simply fix it for you.  Counselling is a process that helps you to change. The key word is you, we can’t do it for you. Also, don’t seek advice. We can’t give you answers that you’re looking for, we can facilitate the process so that you find the answers you’re looking for.

Expecting all counsellors to be alike

I think that counsellors are a lot like a pair of shoes.  Some are old, some are new, some are fancy and different, some are plain and simple, some are smelly, some don’t fit well and some fit better for you.  Just as you need to go into a shoe store and try on several pairs before you find the ones you’re looking for, you also need to try different counsellors before you find one that fits best with you. To help narrow your selection, it helps to know some things first.  Just as you would go into that shoe store knowing you need a pair of size 10 runners, you need to know what issues you need help with and what type or style of counselling you need. Then you can about finding the counsellor that you work best with. What would it be like if you went into a shoe store, tried on a pair of high heels that were too tight and gave up because you thought all shoes were tight high heels?

Expecting Counsellors to have a “magic solution”

It amazes me how many people come to counselling thinking that they will get a “magic cure” and their issues would be resolved in one session.  Resolving issues, especially deep ones, and making change takes time and it takes work. Expect to need on going regular support and expect to have to put in work and effort.

Seeing a counsellor for the first time can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. By remembering that only you can fix your issues, that it will require time and work and knowing  you can change counsellors if you don’t fit, will greatly help to enhance your experience.

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