Three Things You Need to Know about Seeing a Counselor

Posted on: 4 April 2016

If you have been considering seeing a therapist or counselor, you may have put off trying to find one because of misconceptions about what you'd have to do or because you did not feel comfortable talking to a stranger about what you've been going through. However, actual counseling is a lot more flexible and customizable than you realize. The point of counseling is to help you in a way that works with how you yourself work, not to force you into a template that you may find restrictive. Here are three things you should know about counseling or therapy that may help you make that final step toward getting help.

1. You Can Fire Your Counselor

While it seems obvious that you should leave a counselor you don't like, it's common to think that any problems you encounter during therapy are due to your own issues and resistance. It may be worth it to give a counselor a chance—maybe stick it out for a few sessions to see if the discomfort settles down—but in the end, you get to decide if you go back to that counselor or if you want try someone else. A therapist can't demand that you never seek a different therapist.

However, many people don't seek new therapists, either because of the aforementioned belief that it's the patient's problem or because they feel some guilt over leaving, like they're quitting. Think of counseling as a partnership where you have equal say, and you'll find it easier to go look for a counselor who you like.

2. You Don't Always Need to Go on Medication

Another misconception is that if you're diagnosed with something like depression, you'll be forced to go on medication. There are times when a case of depression or another condition is so severe that medication really is necessary to control chemical imbalances in the brain. But for milder cases of depression, cyclothymia, and other conditions, it may be possible to use talk therapy and other forms of non-medication-based therapy.

3. You Can Receive Counseling Electronically

If you're loathe to sit in a room with a stranger and talk, or if you just prefer typing to talking, you can now receive counseling electronically. There are services that use text, chat rooms, and more. This can become a main form of communication for you during therapy, or you can gradually move into meeting a therapist or counselor in person.

If you have other questions about counseling, you can also set up initial appointments to ask questions and see if the counselor is someone you like. It may take a few appointments, but keep talking to new counselors until you meet the one you know you can work with well. Start by making an appointment with a counselor from an establishment like Living Hope Clinic.