Is Counseling Really Effective?

what to know when you are choosing the right counselor or therapist for your needs

In life, we all go through ups and downs. Most of the time, we’re able to cope with the downs on our own; but sometimes, coping alone just doesn’t seem to work for us.

When it gets tough to deal with issues by ourselves, we may turn to friends or family for advice and just vent out our feelings. But our friends and family aren’t trained counselors.

If they say the wrong thing at the wrong time, it may worsen the situation.

Not only that but your friends and family may not recognize if what you’re feeling is stemming from a mental health disorder.

What Is Counseling?

Counseling, in the realm of mental health, is the process of discussing your problems and issues in a safe environment with a counselor, who is trained in the field of mental health. Counseling also teaches you effective tools in dealing with whatever problems and feelings you might be facing.

Are Counseling and Therapy the Same Thing?

Nope! They’re not. Counseling and therapy are terms often used interchangeably. However, they’re not the same thing.

While therapy is a more long-term process focused on chronic issues usually developed in the past, counseling is a short-term process that places more focus on the present issues an individual is facing.

A therapist is also more skillful than a counselor due to the gravity of the issues they treat. Sometimes, the counselor will recommend a client to seek therapy if the situation warrants it.

When Should I See a Counselor?

Life can throw us curveballs at any point. While a lot of times we can figure out a way out of these situations, there are moments when we need external guidance and support.

You should seek professional help in the following cases:

When you are seriously considering it

If an issue crops up that is serious enough to make you want to consider counseling, it’s often a sign that you should. No one knows you better than yourself. So, if you sense a need for professional help, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for counseling. There are no downsides to it.

You feel like you are trapped

Some problems can be so overwhelming that getting out of them feels impossible. It can lead to a feeling of being stuck in a rut, rendering you unable to make a decision. In such a case, counseling can help you gain clarity on what to do all the while digging deep to find the root cause of the problem.

You just experienced a major transition in life

Big changes in life can throw you off balance. Some examples of major transitions in life are: losing a loved one, losing a job, divorce, graduating from college, moving to a new country. Notice that these transitions could be either positive or negative. Having someone listen to you nonjudgmentally during these times can be helpful. It is also relieving to vent out your feelings without having to hold back, as you might have to with a friend or family member.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s just meant to give you an idea of some instances where one might consider seeking counseling.

There is no right or wrong reason to see a counselor. Ultimately, if you feel like counseling can help, by all means, you should consider going for it!

Does Counseling Really Work?

The honest answer is, it depends.

Counseling is a form of talk therapy and some critics believe that it is no better than talking to someone you trust.

However, survey research conducted by Truth Counselling Newcastle showed that counseling does work and most people are happy with their overall experience of counseling. In fact, they said they are open to undertaking counseling again.

The most important part of making counseling work is to find a counselor that is the right match for you. You should be able to trust them and talk about your feelings openly with them.

You also need to remember that the results of counseling take time. It’s not going to change your life overnight, but slowly and gradually it will create a positive impact.

Counseling involves a lot of work on your part as well.

At the end of the day, it’s you who really holds the power to make a change, counseling is just a tool to find clarity on what it is that you need to change.

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