Breaking down myths about counselling

Are you someone who has heard a lot about counselling? Someone who is curious about counselling and wants to see what counselling is about? Has your curiosity made you to want to try it but you are too scared because of stories you’ve heard from people? Well, if you can associate with the above, then you’re at the right place!

Many of us want to and sometimes need to go for counselling. You’ve heard too many nasty stories of what counselling did or didn’t do to a person and now you’re stuck because you really want/need it but are reluctant to take the chance. You may have also tried counselling and had a bad experience which has put you off it. What you are feeling and thinking is very normal. Your apprehensions are not uncommon. However, being in the situation that you are, understanding a bit about counselling and what a counsellor does can help you take a decision and clarify the myths which surround counselling.

To begin with, counselling is a process of, to simply put it, 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 counselor who listens, understands and tries to work with the client to reach the goal that the client has in mind. Some of the questions and doubts about counselling that you may have heard of or thought of are:

1.    Will the counsellor know all my deepest darkest secrets?
The counsellor will not know all your deepest darkest secrets unless you choose to disclose them. There is no compulsion whatsoever and you can decide what you want to share as and when you are comfortable with the counsellor.
2.    Will I be judged because of who and what I am?
No. One of the foundations of counselling is to not judge a person. Therefore a good counsellor is one who will accept you for who you are and help you work on whatever is troubling you.

3.    Why should I talk to someone I don’t know?
Choosing someone whom you don’t know to talk to can help you get an unbiased and objective understanding of things unlike talking to a friend or family member whose opinion of you will influence their suggestions/advice. A counsellor is trained to help you with your struggles after taking the time to build a relationship with you and understand your perspectives.

4.    How can I trust that the counsellor won’t divulge my secrets?
Another foundation stone of counselling is trust and confidentiality. We understand that confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of counselling without which not much progress can be made. A counsellor is ethically bound to not reveal anything you have divulged in your sessions to anyone else. Confidentiality can be broken only under a few circumstances, outside which action can be taken against the counsellor for a breach in confidentiality.

5.    Counselling is supposed to give me clear solutions to problems and I’ve never got a solution because I still have the problem.
Counselling is not a one stop shop for solutions though this is a common misconception about the purpose of counselling. Counselling helps provide useful information and insight into how we handle our situations and life in general. From this information, the client is given the strength to make his/her own decisions which are healthy and productive. It is the client and not the counsellor who, at the end of counselling, comes up with a solution to their issue.

6.    Counselling is only meant for people who are mad or abnormal. Why should I go?
Counselling is meant for any and every one. Anyone who wishes to be heard, who needs some clarity on their life, relationships and/or themselves is free to approach a counselling for counselling. Also, very importantly, counselling is not a crisis-oriented service where a client comes for counselling just because a problem has occurred.

7.    Counsellors can use violence to “treat” people.
No. A counsellor who uses violence to counsel is not a counsellor at all.

8.    They can read my mind, I feel unsafe!
No, counsellors cannot read your mind. They can help you read and understand your own mind better.

9.    Counselling is so 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. The more efficiently the client and counsellor work together, the earlier the sessions can be terminated. On an average, clients can take anywhere between 4-20 sessions or more based on their need.

11. Counselling will change who I am.
Not unless you want it to. It is very important to note that change lies not in the counsellor’s hand but in your own.

12. Men don’t need counselling.
Counselling is not a gender specific service. It caters to every human being because the motto of counselling is to not judge and be stereotypical but to be a universally helpful service!

The list of queries regarding counselling and counsellors is endless and exhaustive. To understand more about counselling and counsellors in a safe environment and get your questions answered, you can approach us at Talkitover.

Talk It Over

About Babushka Chauhan

Babushka Chauhan has completed her Masters of Science in Psychological Counselling from Christ University and is currently teaching Psychology part-time there. She is also a counselling psychologist and has worked with children, young adults and alcohol and drug addicts. She enjoys spending her time reading, writing and engaging with photography as well.