When do I visit a counsellor?
Have there been times when you were in a dire situation and needed help but didn’t know whom to approach? Were there been times when you wanted to talk to someone outside your family or friends’ circle? Times when you felt you have had enough and just couldn’t take it anymore?
You are not alone. All of us go through these experiences, some even on a daily basis, during which we feel like just talking to someone about that nagging feeling in our heads or discuss something that has been bothering us for a while. And that is all right.
Counselling, to put it simply, is a very normal and healthy mode of communication. It involves a counsellor and a counselee who spend quality time with each other communicating and in productive action. By productive action, we mean, doing something towards reaching a goal, however big or small it might be. For example, if Sanjana has been thinking of talking to someone about the issues which are bothering her, approaching a counsellor and beginning to express her thoughts and feelings is her first step towards productive action. The immediate goal here would be to express your thoughts and feelings to your counsellor.
Counselling is also a process in which the relationship formed between you and your counsellor helps you develop more awareness and understand yourself better. Your counsellor’s job is to act like a mirror and reflect back to you your behaviour, thoughts and feelings in a way which helps you understand them more clearly or from a different perspective.
There are times when we may be ready to make the first move and approach a counsellor. However, what may stop us are certain doubts we have in mind like: what sort of issues are fit for counselling and what aren’t? Is my issue big enough to go to counselling for or am I overreacting. Most of us will have these questions and they are absolutely valid!
Counselling is not meant to be an exclusive service accessible to only a few people. But it has various misconceptions attached to it by our culture and society. Indian culture is one in which our families form our biggest support system. So, counselling is not a new concept in our culture because we always have someone to confide in and talk to – be it a spouse, a parent, grandparent or extended members of the family. But the idea of going outside the family to share our deepest thoughts with someone is not very popular as most people feel like they are betraying their family’s trust by opening up to a stranger.
In order to clear up these misconceptions, it is important to become aware of what counselling is really about. It is necessary to demystify what counselling is and what a counsellor does. Counselling is open to one and all. It is a service which anyone can take advantage of! There is no rule that we should only go to a counsellor with very serious problems. We often tend to have a crisis-oriented approach to counselling where and use it as a last resort during an emergency. Counselling can happen even when there is no particular problem at hand. It provides us with knowledge about our self and others who matter to us. It provides us with a deeper understanding about people and relationships and also equips us with useful life skills that enhance the quality of our lives.
Talking to a counsellor is very different from talking to a friend or family member as a counsellor is a non-judgmental, objective and empathetic listener who can help you view your problems from a different perspective. When we talk to those we love, it becomes hard for them to separate their own opinions and feelings about you from the advice or help they might give you.
So the next time you find the need to talk to someone, or sort things out in your mind, you can consider counselling as a viable option. At Talkitover, we provide individual, couple and family counselling with trained counsellors who will help you with your struggles in a way which you are comfortable with.