Top 12 myths about counselling

Are you someone who has heard a lot about counselling? Someone who is curious about counselling and is wondering what counselling is about? Have you thought of trying it but felt unsure of whether it was for you based on what you’ve heard? Well, if you can relate to this, then you’re at the right place!

Many of us would like to try counselling and could benefit from it. Yet, we may have heard certain things about counselling which leaves us confused or hesitant.

Or it could be that someone spoke to you and called it “counselling” even though it wasn’t and that  experience has put you off.

It is natural to have apprehensions about something we don’t have accurate information on.

Understanding what counselling is and clarifying some of the myths that surround it, could help you make an informed decision about counselling!

To begin with, counselling is a process of, to put it simply, communication. The better the communication, the better the counselling. It is a process in which the relationship formed between you and your counsellor helps you develop more awareness and understand yourself better. Counselling is not a one-way process. It is, in fact, a dynamic two-way process with a counsellor who listens, understands and tries to work with you to help you reach the goal that you choose for yourself.

Some of the common myths about counselling or questions are:

1. Will the counsellor draw out my deep dark secrets?

The counsellor will only know what you choose to share with him / her. You could decide what you want to share, as and when, you feel comfortable with your counsellor.

2. Will I be judged based on what I share about myself?

No. One of the foundations of counselling is to not judge a person. Therefore a counsellor will accept you unconditionally and seek to understand what you are experiencing, from your point of view.

3. How will talking to a counsellor who doesn’t know me, help me?

Not knowing you personally enables the counsellor to be neutral, objective and non-judgmental of you. A friend or a family member would often have their own opinions or suggestions of what might be right for you, which is helpful information. However, when you wish to focus on and arrive at your own answers, speaking to a counsellor helps you get an unbiased and deeper understanding of yourself and your situation. Over time, your counsellor and you will form an  accepting yet professional relationship, one in which you feel comfortable to be yourself.

4. How can I trust that the counsellor won’t divulge my secrets?

Another foundation stone of counselling is trust and confidentiality. Confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of counselling, without which there can be no counselling relationship.  Counsellors are ethically bound to maintain confidentiality except in situations where there is risk of self-harm, harm to others or child abuse.

5. The counsellor should give me a solution to my problem.

This is a common misconception about the purpose of counselling. Every person and life situation is unique and needs to be understood. Ready-made solutions will not help in the long run. Therefore, counsellors do not give advice. Instead the counselling relationship helps you gain useful insight and understanding of yourself and your situation. This helps you make your own decisions which are healthy and productive. The counsellor and you work together, to help you come to your own solutions, to bring about more long-lasting change.

6. Counselling is only meant for people who can’t cope with their problems. Why should I go?

No, counselling is intended for everyone. If you would like to be listened to and would like greater awareness, growth and fulfillment in any area of your life, you may find counselling helpful. Counselling helps you find your own answers so that you can decide how to handle your situation better. It is a pro-active, positive step to address your issues on your own.

Also, counselling is not a crisis-oriented service which you seek only when there is a problem. In reality, it is a safe space to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings and understand ourselves and  situations better.

7. What “treatment” will the counsellors give me?

Counsellors do not “treat” people. Read about counselling approaches to understand the counselling process. Counsellors facilitate a process to enable you to gain awareness and growth through a warm and understanding relationship. The counsellor is transparent with you and decides together with you, what might be helpful to you.

8. They can read my mind, I feel unsafe.

No, counsellors cannot read your mind! They can only help you in understanding yourself better.

9. Counselling is expensive!

Different counselling organizations have different rates for counselling sessions. However, Talkitover’s counselling rates are decided keeping in mind the fact that counselling should be affordable and accessible to everyone.

10. Counselling takes a very long time.

Not necessarily. Counselling is a process marked not by time but by the quality and outcome of the sessions. Based on your needs and goals from counselling, you could decide together with your counsellor on the number of sessions that will be most helpful for you.

11. Counselling will change who I am.

Not unless you choose to change certain aspects of yourself, based on what is helpful to you in meeting your goals. Again, the decision to make any changes lies in your hands entirely and not the counsellor’s.

12. Men don’t need counselling.

Counselling is not a gender specific service, everyone can benefit from counselling. Counselling is non-judgmental and seeks to accept people for who they are.

There are many more queries about counselling, you will find our comprehensive FAQ section extremely helpful in getting your questions answered, before you seek counselling.

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