Counseling is not a cure. It alleviates destructive behavioral patterns and helps you think differently but it won’t cure or completely eradicate your issues. Think about counseling as the drug that helps you manage symptoms of a disease, the disease being life. Think about it – “dis-ease”. Many of us feel overwhelmed, uneasy and stressed by life. Life isn’t fair and I know I have found it hard to find my happy place over the years. If counselors could cure their client’s life anguish, everyone would want to be a counselor and live a perfect life. Nice thought but not realistic sadly.
So if counseling is not a cure, what benefits does it offer?
The benefits of counseling
Counseling acts as an outlet
Having someone to talk to about your experiences is a healing experience. We all need to have someone to talk to and a counselor offers a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to talk through your feelings and worries. You might be feeling really wound up and anxious and talking to someone who is objective helps to reset the mind and reduce your stress levels. Many people don’t want to worry their family or burden their friends and speaking to a counselor fills this need.
A different perspective
When you’re emotionally involved, it’s difficult to separate emotion from logic. Emotions create mental chaos and confusion and they don’t always point us in the right direction. Speaking to a counselor helps you to see things from a different perspective and be more aware of your unhelpful thinking and behavior. We get stuck in patterns of thinking and behavior and it often takes input from someone else to help us identify the automatic ways that we behave and think.
Counseling offers helpful strategies and interventions
Counseling isn’t just about talking. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) offers practical ways to change thinking and behavior. CBT encourages a practical application of the theory. Typical psychotherapy can be passive where you talk but no practical solutions are uncovered. All the change is supposed to happen internally. CBT looks at how thinking affects behavior but also looks at how behavior can alter your thinking.
Counseling encourages personal development
Self-awareness gives you an edge. When you know your strengths and weaknesses you can streamline your goals. When you know your values, you can include these for an improved quality of life. Values act as a natural antidepressant. When you know what your triggers are, you will be more in control of your reactions. The benefits of counseling are endless.
Improves your understanding of human behavior
Counseling is not a cure but knowledge is power. The more you understand about why people behave in certain ways, the more tolerant you become. Instead of thinking in judgemental ‘black-and-white’ terms, you can relate to someone when you understand the dynamics and causes of their actions. Counseling teaches you to look for reasons and consider the bigger picture instead of looking at behavior on its own.
Counseling improves relationships
Your communication with others can vastly improve after a few sessions of counseling. Sometimes we get stuck in patterns of communicating that make things worse. A counselor isn’t on anyone’s side – they are on the side of the relationship. This helps people take advice and feedback more seriously as a counselor has no agenda other than to help a couple improve their relationship.
While counseling is not a cure, it helps individuals navigate their lives more effectively and improves their self-esteem and confidence levels. No one fully understands themselves and counseling can give you the edge to progress and achieve your goals.