MYTHS ABOUT COUNSELING
9 Oct 2019
Counseling can be defined as a professional relationship that empowers individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. It is a collaborative effort between the counselor and the client. Generally, a helps their client to identify their aims in life and provide possible solutions to their problems.
Counseling is of four types:
Individual counseling: This is a one to one session between the counselor and client only. It provides a person with an opportunity to receive support and experience on a personal level.
Couples counseling: As the name suggests couple counseling is for couples who face ups and downs in their relationship. It helps couples restore harmony in their relationship.
Family Counseling: Family counseling can be sought due to major changes in lifestyle which negatively affect one or all the family members. Sometimes sessions are held individually and mostly the entire family goes to sessions together.
Group Counseling: Group counseling is done for clients to understand that they are not alone in their struggles. In this typically each member gets a chance to speak about their problems one by one.
According to a study report by WHO, 6.5% of the Indian population suffers from some sort of serious mental health issues but only 10-12 % of these people seek help. Unfortunately, therapy still remains an obscure subject and many myths remain. These issues stop people from getting help and gives something valuable a bad name. Some of the common myths associated with counseling are:
- Counseling and psychotherapy are fundamentally different from each other
Counseling and psychotherapy are fundamentally the same owing to the fact that both of them are talking therapies. In some contexts, the term counselor is preferred (career counselor, school counselor) and in some context, the term therapist (private practice, clinics) is used. whether the term counselor or therapist is used both of them can help a wide range of clients with a wide range of issues.
- Counseling never works
Talking therapies such as counseling, like many other forms of helping (medicine, personal training, etc) can help people to a great extent depending on other factors like social support, flexibility to change, clarity of goals, etc. The relationship between the counselor and the client can also be an important factor to determine the effectiveness of counseling.
Counseling is useless for clinical depression:
Many people believe that when a person is suffering from a clinically diagnosed problem only medication can be beneficial for that person. Although medication may help on a physiological level, counseling helps on a psychological level. Meaning talking therapy can help change factors like; negative beliefs about oneself (I do not deserve happiness, I am not worthy, etc.), self-destructive habits, social isolation, etc. It can also help a person to explore their history and figure out the root cause of their depression.
Counseling is only for ‘Mental’ patients:
People may believe that counseling is only for mentally abnormal people or only people who suffer from serious disorders should go for counseling. Whereas in reality people can go for therapy for a wide range of issues like; stress from relationships, coping with grief, getting over a phobia, etc. Waiting for a problem to get serious will only make the situation more complicated and much harder to resolve.
Counseling is basically cheering up the client:
What most people believe is that a counselor is like a personal cheerleader, always saying that you’re good enough, smart enough and always warm and fuzzy because that is what people generally watch on TV. Although some models of counseling may encourage warm and supporting behavior but that is not what counseling is limited to. More often a counselor challenges and educates their clients.
Counseling is expensive and all about money:
Price is one factor that may discourage people from getting help but there is a wide range of charges depending on which counselor you choose. Also consider how much money one spends on things like cars, vacations, gifts, etc. to make oneself happy. With the cost of working directly on your thoughts, one can reach their full potential. One should consider the gains and investment rather than seeing the price you’re paying.
Counseling is unnecessary when you can just talk to a friend:
It is true that talking to a loved one can help you feel better in the short term but that will only last for a little while. Friend gives love, support, and wisdom but counseling is a different concept from friendship. Counselors are highly trained professionals who’ve spent years learning and practicing how to diagnose and treat psychological issues.
People who go to therapy are weak:
In our culture going for counseling is seen as a moral flaw and hence the stigma for going to therapy is strengthened. Think about it, the people who visit doctors for a physical ailment, are they too weak to treat themselves? Or the people who go to school are too weak to teach themselves? Of course not. Actually, it is just the opposite, seeking help for a problem that you can’t resolve yourself means you’re taking action, as opposed to doing nothing and suffering in your own agony.
Many times in life it may be the case that, people find the need to get counseling but they choose not to because of the various reasons mentioned above. The purpose of this blog is to enlighten our readers about these issues and bring some clarity about the stigma related to mental health and counseling.
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