The Most Common Reasons People Seek Counseling

Many people visit a counselor over the course of their life and there is a wide range of reasons people seek counseling.

The first question I ask a potential new client is, “What is bringing you to counseling and if I can help you with one single thing in your life, what would it be?”

I think this is a question that helps narrow down the focus to one single, MOST pressing problem in a person’s life. It is also an open question which helps me to get real, elaborate, and intimate answers.

Everyone is different, and we all have unique circumstances and problems. Yet there are some common threads of human psychology that stand out as presenting in clients from various walks of life. Thus, what are the most common responses to this question? Below are the top reasons people seek out counseling.

1)Increase self-esteem

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 your self-image: how you see the world.

2)Find and/or Improve a Relationship

Love is a HOT TOPIC. 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.

3)Improve Career and Job-Situation

Finding 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.

4)Be Happy

Many people seek out counseling with the vague goal of being happier. Talking about what is bothering you can really help in and of itself. 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.

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.

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. Whether it is an anxiety disorder or mood disorder, many 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, retirement, etc.

11)Self Discovery

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-life is our own movie and we all view ourselves as the main character. Naturally, this makes it difficult for us to step outside of ourselves, and realize that everyone also experience their world as their own movie. 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.

If you are struggling with any of these challenges or considering counseling for reasons not listed above, please feel free to reach out to me:

Theodorou Therapy, LLC

Erin Doyle Theodorou, M.Ed., LPC, NCC
590 Franklin Ave.

Suite 2

Nutley, NJ 07110


If You Don’t Address Your Inner Psychology, Nothing Will Sustain Your Happiness: Self-Talk Matters

If you were to go to live with someone for several decades, how important would the relationship between the two of you be?

Wouldn’t you make an effort to ensure you got along well? Wouldn’t you want to make sure the relationship between the two of you was encouraging, positive, and supportive?

And who exactly IS this companion of which we speak? It is the voice that speaks to us day in and day out. This constant companion is our self-talk.

Self-talk, or your internal dialogue, can have a major impact on your self-worth, self-esteem, and the way you see the world. Unfortunately, for many of us, the relationship between ourselves and that voice isn’t so positive.

We all have a running dialogue in our head. It’s present all day, every day and can have a tremendous impact on your state-of-mind. That’s exactly why positive self-talk is so important to your mental and emotional health.

Identifying negative thinking

Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Some common forms of negative self-talk include (MayoClinic):

  • Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. That evening, you focus only on your plan to do even more tasks and forget about the compliments you received.
  • Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
  • Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
  • Polarizing (Splitting). You see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or you’re a total failure. This is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole.

Here is a link to an extensive list of common cognitive distortions:

If you are wondering if you are struggling with negative self-talk, it can create a myriad of symptoms that include anxiety, depression, perfectionism, low self-esteem, and chronic fatigue. If any of this sounds familiar to you, don’t worry. There are ways to combat the effects of negative self-talk. With a little practice, you can break the cycle and take control of your internal dialogue. Remember, our self-talk is idiosyncratic, but it also amendable.

Counseling can be beneficial in overcoming negative self-talk. If I can be of any help to you:

Erin Doyle Theodorou, M.Ed, LPC, NCC


590 Franklin Ave.

Suite 2

Nutley, NJ 07110