Written by: Carl Puleo, LPCA
What is counseling? Why do people choose to go to counseling? How do people know if counseling is right for them?
People choose to go to counseling for many reasons and in this article, I would like to explore what I believe people need to consider before going into counseling. I call this the four C’s of Counseling: Change, Commitment, Challenge, and Courage.
First, counseling is about Change. People who choose to go to counseling do so because they either have problems in their life that they wish they did not have. Or, they lack something in their lives that they wish they did have. And, oftentimes both of these conditions exist. Most people want to be happy and content with life and when it is difficult to be happy due to depression, anxiety, or stress, people will seek help to change because change is the reason people seek counseling.
Second, counseling is about Commitment. I often tell my clients that counseling is a marathon, not a sprint. Change does not occur overnight. There is no light switch that can be flipped nor any magic wand that can be waved that will produce change. It takes a commitment to stick with the process. Many times people become frustrated because they expect counselors to change them or the process of change moves slower than they expected, and they quit going to counseling. If you want a change in your life and are considering going to counseling you will need to be prepared for the long haul.
Third, counseling is about being Challenged. As a client, you will have to work. You will have to work on adopting new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. You may have to move outside of your comfort zones. You may even have to experience mental pain before you can experience healing. Again, this is a process that you will have to stick with. Counselors are there to help you become the best person you can be, and sometimes that means dealing with, facing, and challenging old habits, buried emotional wounds, and taking an honest look at yourself. This can be very challenging, but it is the only way to achieve true change in your life.
Forth, counseling is not for those who are weak. That is why the fourth C is Courage. There is a false belief that if someone goes to counseling it indicates they are weak and unable to cut it in life. This is so far from the truth. If you go to counseling you are one of the bravest people out there. It takes guts to trust another person to share your innermost thoughts and feelings. It takes intense bravery to face one’s inner demons and overcome serious problems.
If you are considering counseling then be aware that in order to Change your life you will need to Courageously be prepared to Commit to being Challenged. Understand this: counseling works! But it only works for those who understand the Four C’s. Now that you know, are you ready to go to counseling?