Are you considering therapy?

Seeking therapy can be beneficial for those experiencing domestic violence because it provides a safe and supportive space to process emotions, gain perspective, and develop coping strategies. Therapy can help survivors of domestic violence heal from trauma, rebuild self-esteem, and learn healthy relationship patterns. It can also assist in addressing any underlying mental health issues that may have arisen from the abuse. Therapists can offer guidance, validation, and resources to help individuals navigate their unique situations and work towards a healthier and safer future. 

What is Counseling?

 In a nutshell counseling can be seen as navigating a map, specifically a map of life. Trying to find your direction may have road blocks, U-turns, bumps, red lights, caution lights, green lights and several detours or re-routing. Some people also describe it as a puzzle. You have no full final picture yet of what the puzzle looks like. You may be unsure if you have all of the pieces at times or feel some of the pieces are from a different puzzle and constantly wondering how all the pieces fit. Counseling can assist and help you navigate the map and examine the pieces of the puzzle together. You do not have to be alone on the journey. Read through the common Myths and facts some people have about counseling and reach out to a counselor to ask any questions you may have. This is for you to gain a better understanding of counseling prior to making a commitment.

The Myths and Facts

MYTH: Only “Crazy” people go to counseling.

FACT: Most people who go for counseling are ordinary everyday people, just like you and I, not violent, dangerous and “crazy”.  Counseling can help you cope with everyday stress, improve relationships, broaden your perspective and give you more clarity of thought in order to achieve your goals.

MYTH: Counseling Is Only For People With a “Mental Illness”

FACT: Most people seek help so that they can cope with disorders, stress, relationships and grief. They wish to figure out who they really are and how to live life to the fullest. You can seek counseling for your career, sexual wellness and self-improvement too.  So, counseling is not exclusive to people diagnosed with mental illness.

MYTH: People Who Go For Counseling Are “Broken” And “Emotionally Damaged”

FACT: Everything may not be perfectly fine in your life, but that doesn’t mean you’re broken or emotionally damaged. Remember that it’s not the end of the world even though it may feel that way at times, and that you can make the choice to seek help to heal and feel better. Counseling is a tool for people to explore themselves and learn to improve oneself and their life. 

MYTH: Only ‘Weak’ People Go For Counseling

FACT: If someone has fractured their hand, what would you do? Ask them to go to a doctor, or tell them to “man up” and deal with it on their own? You would ask them to visit a doctor, right?

So, isn’t it wrong to tell people suffering mentally and emotionally to toughen up, instead of advising them to seek help?

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It just means that you’re taking action. In fact, knowing when to ask for help is actually a sign of strength and self-awareness. Counseling is a place that provides you a safe and confidential place to talk openly and freely and identify and build on your strengths. 

MYTH: Counseling Is Only For People Who Have No One To Talk To

FACT: Counseling is different from talking to your family and friends and taking advice from them.

Counselors are highly trained and qualified professionals. They have spent years learning and practicing how to diagnose and treat emotional and behavioral issues.

A friend or family-member may not be able to understand and help you out in certain sensitive matters. It’s crucial to reach out to an expert in such cases. A counselor can help you gain a different outside view that is objective. 

MYTH: They’ll Prescribe You Or Make You Take Medication

FACT: Psychologists, social workers, and counselors are not permitted to prescribe medicine. If they feel that you may benefit from medication, they will refer you to a Psychiatrist / Doctor who makes the call on whether or not you need to take any if at all. Ultimately, the decision to take medication is yours. 

MYTH: Counseling Is Easy and Just About Venting

FACT: Counseling is challenging, it involves making a commitment to yourself. Venting can feel good after it’s done, but usually this feel is temporary and can become a toxic cycle. In counseling, venting may be productive to identify certain stressors and problem behaviors and areas, but keep in mind counseling should be working towards a specific goal(s) you and your therapist have identified that is measurable. 

MYTH: Counselors Are The Experts Who Will “Fix Me”. 

FACT: Counselors can help guide in in the journey to feeling better through learning coping skills, providing education, and processing what’s going on in our life. However, we do not provide answers or advice. We believe that you know yourself and your life best, we only know the pages of the story you share with us, therefore, we encourage self-determination as these are decisions you are making that will impact your life . Making the decision to work on yourself is very tough work, ultimately you are the one responsible for doing the work, however , keep in mind your counselor is there to process and guide you through any obstacles or barriers you may face. 

MYTH: Your Counselor is Your Best Friend

FACT: Sometimes we use the terms best friend as a term of endearment, but it is normal for some individuals to start to feel closer or attached to their counselor as they are getting to know you on a  deeper level others may not. As your counselor, we want what is best for you, however, counselors set and enforce boundaries to maintain being objective. Yes, we are human beings just like you who have friendships, however, our professional ethics do not allow us to be more than a professional assisting and rooting for you on your journey to feeling better.

MYTH: Counseling Does Not Work

FACT: Research demonstrates that counseling is effective for a variety of mental and behavioral health problems and across a variety of diverse groups of people. Counseling teaches patients life skills that last beyond the course of treatment. The results of psychotherapy tend to last longer than psychopharmacological (medicine) treatments and rarely produce harmful side effects. While medication is appropriate in some instances, research shows that a combination of medication and counseling is often most effective in treating depression and anxiety. It should also be noted that the effects produced by counseling, including those for different age groups and across a spectrum of mental and physical health disorders, are often comparable to or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders without the potential for harmful side effects that drugs often carry.