There are several myths and misconceptions that you may have heard about counselling and psychotherapy.
- When we go to counselling, it can be a big and frightening step. There are many misconceptions about counseling or therapy that may frighten us about what it might be like. There are all sorts of myths and ideas and stereotypes such as: once we go to counselling, we’re going have to go for the next fifteen years and lay on a couch etc. Sometimes, people want that sort of therapy, but for the most part, that’s really not how it works.
Therapy is about sitting down, meeting a person and forming a relationship with them. It’s about learning to trust them so that we may talk about things that really worry us. We’re always going to be in control. The counsellor is not going to take over our lives or insist that we do things that we don’t feel comfortable with. We should always feel comfortable. We should always feel in control. Often when we’re thinking about meeting a counsellor, we can get really stuck with the idea that we don’t know whether we should, we don’t know whether we shouldn’t, maybe our problems aren’t important enough or serious enough, but it’s really important to try, to take that chance and to contact the person. And if you understand what it is that you’re getting into, that’s important, that’s powerful for you as the potential client. So ask questions.
One of the reasons why going to counselling is really important is that it challenges the notion that we should cope with everything all of the time. There is also the notion that going to counselling and talking is a sign of weakness. Actually, it’s a sign of strength. It’s about facing up to the things that we’re experiencing difficulties with, putting aside that stiff upper lip and really engaging with someone to find a solution rather than just pretending that it’s all going to be alright.
If it’s not the right time, or counselling isn’t right at that moment, then you can always go at another point, but don’t get stuck with the “not knowing”.
- What’s this mysterious thing called therapy? You might have many questions and it’s important to ask about them. Ask questions to people who’ve had therapy; if you’ve got friends, family, colleagues who’ve gone through it, ask about it. What was it like? How did you find the right therapist? Ask questions because that takes away the mystery. So, ask questions!