In my experience one of the most common reasons people may have about not seeking help from a counsellor is the belief that they are weak. Attending counselling is one of the most bravest and strongest acts you do! It is an act of self-care.
Sometimes people are feared of being judged. The fear of being judged and therefore rejected can make us feel unworthy and unlovable.
The reality is that everyone who attends counselling are “normal”, “ordinary” people.
Sometimes we need help if we are facing certain challenges. Such as adjusting to major life changes, experiencing grief, processing anger, improving relationships, resolving past issues, changing thought patterns, increasing self-confidence, living with depression, managing stress or anxiety and learning new coping strategies to name a few.
Attending counselling is, in fact, an indication of your emotional maturity.
Counselling helps you to develop and grow as a person, become more self-aware and to live more authentically.
If you want to become fitter; you join a gym.
If you are sick; you go to your doctor.
If you want to improve your mental health and well-being; you go to counselling (personal therapy).
Below are some of the most common fears associated with attending counselling:
1. Fear of stigma
The reality is that there is a negative stigma surrounding mental health. This is due to our society, culture and past beliefs.
The more we talk about our mental health and openly ask others about their mental health is impacting on the negative stigma and decreasing its impact.
Yet people who choose counselling may see the value in working on themselves and are insightful to know if and when they may need some extra help and support.
2. Fear of diagnosis
A misconception regarding diagnosis is that once you’re diagnosed, you will have it forever.
This is not true.
There is more that 300 different mental health diagnosis and only a small percentage of those are considered to be lifelong.
3. Fear of always being in counselling
There is sometimes a false belief that once you go to counselling, you will always need to go.
In reality, counselling is one of the few relationships in which the main goal is to say “goodbye”.
Counsellors aim to help you learn new coping strategies, thinking patterns and develop your self-awareness so if and when a trigger or an difficult challenges presents itself in the future you will have the tools to manage yourself through it.
The amount of time spent working with a counsellor will vary depending on the issues/challenges they are working working through.
This choice is always up to the client.
4. Fear of being judged
Sometimes you may feel that you will be judged by your counsellor.
You will not.
Counsellors have specific training to ensure they create a safe therapeutic space. They are taught how to show unconditional positive regard and to be non-judgemental.
5. Fear of doing it wrong
There is no wrong way of doing counselling.
You are the master of your world. It is up to you to explain “your world” to a counsellor.
Identifying what you think and feel, there is no wrong way in doing this.
When you attend counselling, that space is yours, it is all about you and your world.
For every person who worries about the stigma and therefore does not seek help, prolongs suffering.