Many people visit a counselor over the course of their life and there is a wide range of reasons people seek counseling. It wasn’t long ago that counseling was viewed as something that should be kept secret, but thankfully, times have changed. You do not need a “big” reason to go to counseling–it can often make a good life even better!
Mental health is something one should manage before it becomes a crisis. Welnness is the cornerstone of professional counseling. From a wellness perspective, counselors focus on prevention and help clients develop goals to work towards their optimal physical and mental health prior to the onset of problems. Everyone is different, and we all have unique circumstances and problems. Yet, each area of an individual’s life inevitably affects other areas. Counselors are trained to develop treatment plans that recognize the interplay/interconnectedness of the different components that compose the well-being of our clients’ lives.
If you have never gone to speak with a counselor, you may wonder what a person gets out of talking once a week to a near stranger about their struggles in life.
Plenty, it turns out.
The reasons people seek counseling are as varied as people themselves. Thus the first question I ask a new client in our intake session is, “What is bringing you to counseling and why have you decided now is the right time?” I am curious as to the ratione behind why a person has decided to start counseling because it is often something clients will share they contemplated for a long time before following through on.
It is also an open question which helps me to get real, elaborate, and intimate answers. You can never predict where the answer to this question will take a session. Yet often the presenting problem is not the problem the client is really looking to work on.
There are some common threads that bring people to seek out counseling. Below are the top reasons people decide now is the time to get into treatment.
We all want to be confident–nothing can make or break your ability to create the life you want as your self-esteem. There are clear links between the way we feel about ourselves and our overall mental and emotional well-being. It is also very intricately linked to how you see the world. Counselors help you recognize your full potential, work on communication skills, and find motivation. For many, speaking with a therapist can help them see their problems more clearly and take action.
2)Find and/or Improve a Relationship
Relationships can have a significant impact on how you feel. This includes your relationships with family members, colleagues, friends, and romantic partners. It is not uncommon to seek help with a relationship that has become a source of anxiety ad distress. A counselor is able to listen objectively and are a neutral third party. They can help you better understand and nurture the relationships that are important to you.
Finding and creating a great relationship is a life goal many amongst us have. Whether it is improving the relationship one is in or finding a healthy partner, relationship concerns often drive people to counseling. Counselors will work with clients to understand why things have gone wrong and how problems can be overcome. Many counselors work with families and couples.
3)Improve Career and Job-Situation
Having a career one loves or improving your current job situation is a pressing life problem for many. It can be especially challenging to find a new orientation for your career. Sometimes people are thinking about quitting their job and starting their own business, others want to find more satisfaction in their current occupation. We spend alot of our time at work and our relationship with our job can greatly impact of our mood and day to day functioning.
Many people seek out counseling with the vague goal of “being” happier. The goal of therapy is to help you live a more fulfilled, functional, and happier life by helping you deal with your thoughts, emotions, and the daily stresses of life. Often over the course of treatment, clients often discover that happiness in and of itself is not the goal but comes as a by-product of something else in life.
5)Eliminate Negative Thinking and Be Positive
A negative mindset cannot create a positive life. Yet many struggle to limit their negative self-talk. Getting aware of your negative thought patterns and reframing them is a key to getting the negativity out of your life. Awareness is the first important step. The second step in identifying, reframing, and implementing change. CBT is commonly utilized to achieve this goal.
6)Find Inner Peace
It is quite common for a client to report feeling restless or dissatisfied with their life. Often people can’t put their finger on why as on paper their life seems to be going well. Many clients are looking to develop peace of mind and live at harmony with themselves and the world around them. This can be achieved by working on one’s inner psychology.
7)Find and Live with Passion
Many people feel their life lacks passion–whether it is their relationship, professional life, or their day-to-day experience in general. Many come to counseling to tap into the passion that may have long escaped their life.
8)Improve Ability to Focus
One’s mental focus is important to being successful in life. Where your focus your attention, one’s time and energy goes. Being able to concentrate and effectively use one’s mental focus, is a key skill that can really improve your overall life. When people are struggling emotionally, they often report struggling to focus.
9)Mental Health Issues
Counseling is an effective way for people with mental health problems and to work through their symptoms in a supportive environment. Many come to therapy because they feel depressed often described as the “common cold” of mental health issues. Yet whether it is an anxiety disorder or mood disorder, many emotional issues can be alleviated through talk therapy.
10)Life Transitions or Important Decisions
People who are in periods of transitions or are facing down a pivotal decision, can benefit from counseling. Common transitions include adjusting to adulthood, starting a new career, marriage, becoming a parent, divorce, death of a loved one, retirement, etc. Some people benefit from the unbiased feedback that a counselor can provide. I often remind clients that in your personal life, people have opinions of what you should be doing, often a vested interest in what you decide/how it impacts them. Your counselor does not.
As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Counseling is a good opportunity to reflect on past experiences and explore feelings and values. Having the insight to understand what makes us who we are; why we respond the way we do; what excites us and drives our passion; and what challenges us and produces negative thoughts. Self-awareness is the basis for doing well life well.
12)Feeling “different” from family, friends, etc.
Many people feel those around them do not understand them. Sometimes they feel alone. It is normal to be different and it is worth exploring. We all experience the world through our own eyes, and from our own perspective-this is why two people can witness the same event and have vastly different recollections of it. Naturally, this makes it difficult for us to step outside of ourselves, and realize that everyone also experience their world through their own unique lens. Yet connection is important and the feeling that we “fit in” are basic human needs. A counselor can help you celebrate both our differences and embrace our commonalities.
It is important to remember that talking to a counselor is not the same as talking to a friend. Counselors are trained to be careful and unbiased listeners. Therapists guide people through some of the most personal and painful experiences of their lives. When appropriate, your therapist may challenge you to recognize thought and relationship patterns that aren’t helping you move forward.
It is important to realize that counseling and mental health treatment is a healthy action for everybody. Whatever the reason is for seeking it out, clients will find a safe and confidential environment with a supportive individual who will listen to them non-judgementally and strive to understand thoughts and feelings from a client’s point of view. Clients come from all walks of life; a little counseling can help everybody to improve their every day lives.
Please feel free to reach out to me:
Theodorou Therapy, LLC
Erin Doyle Theodorou, M.Ed., LPC, NCC
590 Franklin Ave.
Nutley, NJ 07110