Finding a counsellor or therapist can be a daunting process. Perhaps you feel it would be good to speak to someone, but are struggling to make that first step with starting counselling? You’re not alone.
This blog looks at 5 common hesitations – and how you can get past them.
First, some key messages:
You are important
Your concerns are important
We all need help sometimes
#1 “It’s not that big a deal”
Do you feel your struggles aren’t ‘big’ enough for counselling? I hear this more often than any of the other obstacles in this post. You do not need to be at crisis point in order to reach out. In fact, it’s better to get some support as soon as you can before things become unmanageable.
My job as a counsellor is to meet you wherever you are at in your journey and support you in the process. I’ll never think your issues are trivial.
Maybe you’re noticing you are feeling sad or anxious on a near-daily basis. Maybe you’re struggling to sleep or to enjoy things you used to love. Whatever the struggles in your life, they are significant and they matter.
We all deserve to thrive in life – not just survive what life throws at us.
#2 I can fix my own issues without starting counselling
I am a huge advocate of personal development. There are many ways you can help yourself if you are struggling or want more clarity and here are some book suggestions to support you with that.
But sometimes we need some help from someone else. Someone outside the script of our life who can help us get clarity.
You don’t have to be alone with your struggles; you don’t have to ‘manage’ or ‘make-do’. If you are frequently saying you’re “fine” but feeling the opposite, it really can be good to talk. This is where starting counselling can help.
#3 My counsellor will confirm there’s something wrong with me
It’s pretty common to have a fear that something is secretly wrong with you. But it’s good to remind ourselves that #fearsarentfacts.
You will find me curious about how you make sense of yourself and the world. I won’t think you are inadequate, flawed, bad, worthless or any of the other negative things you may tell yourself. Quite the opposite.
How you think or behave may be very understandable in the context of how you navigated challenges throughout your life. The more you can become aware of the patterns in your life, the more you choicefully and mindfully you can live your life.
#4 Starting counselling and talking about it will make it worse
It’s true that you may feel a bit worse before you start to feel better in counselling. Talking about our struggles in life can be upsetting and it’s completely natural to be reluctant to open yourself up to more potential pain.
But if you have been thinking about counselling or therapy and have not yet taken the first step, you may have been bottling things up. Keeping a lid on your feelings can make life very challenging.
I integrate various tools in my work to support clients with feelings and fears of overwhelm. For example, breathing and mindfulness exercises as well as techniques for grounding. You set the pace of the work and you can take your time.
#5 How do I know a counsellor or therapist is right for me?
It’s a good question and this blog post will help.
Like all relationships in life, there are some people we gel with more than others. Take your time identifying some counsellors or therapists you might want to work with. Book a free initial call before starting counselling or therapy. You should never feel pressured to book a session. Going with your gut is important – if it’s not a good fit, then that’s completely ok.
It’s completely natural to feel anxious or nervous about opening up to someone. I remember feeling reluctant to speak to a stranger about what was on my mind when I first started therapy many years ago. It may take a little while to feel comfortable, but you are in charge.