Myths about Counselling
Counselling can seem quite mysterious, in part because of confidentiality and the misrepresentation in the media. In this post I'll cover some of the myths I hear regularly and hopefully provide some clarity!
One of the big myths is that something has to be "seriously wrong" or you need a mental health diagnosis to access counselling, this is absolutely incorrect. The first thing to mention is that you do not need to have a diagnosis, while counselling can be a fantastic resource for people who do have a diagnosis, it is not a requirement. There are so many reasons people seek out and benefit from therapy. If a problem is bothering you, or disrupting your life then it is serious. It's not uncommon for people to invalidate their experience with something like 'well, I could go to counselling but people have it worse so I shouldn't need to.' The reality is that someone will always have it worse but someone has it better as well and you can too! No one ever says that can't be happy/content/calmer because someone has it better than them. Suffering isn't a competition, your problems are valid.
Another myth that floats around is that counsellors 'just listen', part of me thinks this is a result of the media portrayal of nodding and placating therapists. Counsellors need to be qualified and highly skilled professionals, it's okay for you to check that they are! Counselling is not passive, it's a process and both parties are active
Friendship vs. therapy seems to be a common conversation. A counsellor is not your friend, they will have professional boundaries in place and a therapist who does try to be your friend is a big red flag. Their training prepares them to sit with and not be overwhelmed by your difficulties, whereas a friend might be. They won't give you advice, tell you what to do or cut you off. This is an area I would like to talk more about in a separate post!
I hope this helps to clear up some myths you may have heard. Please do get in touch if you have further questions or would like to discuss starting counselling