Counseling myths (Part 4)

In the last couple of weeks we’ve been demystifying several counseling myths, and in this week’s article the chapter on counseling myths will be concluded.

Myth 16: Counseling is a quick fix for all your problems

Truth: There are no quick fixes when it comes to counseling. Strengthening your brain through counseling is like strengthening your body through exercise. It takes time, practice, patience, persistence, commitment and absolute cooperation. Each person that enters into counseling is a unique individual, so there is no universal formula to determine how long it will be before a client feels better.

Making a commitment to yourself to enter counseling is a way to learn about yourself and your world views. In addition, you can learn ways to improve your decision making process, which can result in more uplifting feelings on a regular basis.

Myth 17: A Counselor will judge me and make me feel ashamed for my problems

Truth: First off, any therapist who makes you feel judged or ashamed of your problems is not the right therapist to you. Simple as that! Period!. A counselor’s job is to create a safe, accepting, and non-judgmental space for you to work through whatever challenges you’re facing. A good counselor will show compassion for your struggles and, in so doing, help you learn to have compassion for yourself.

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Myth 18: Counseling just makes you dependent on your Counselor

Truth: We have a saying in the field of psychotherapy, that says that the goal of counseling is to get the counselor out of a job, the goal of a good counselor is to put him or herself out of a job.

A counselor’s goal is to help you reach a point where you ultimately don’t need counseling anymore. You may still have personal work to do; who doesn’t? But you learn the skills you need to be your own counselor over time. Or you do a part of the work that’s most important in the phase of your life. We’re all ongoing works in progress, but that doesn’t mean that counseling has to go on forever. A counselor can help you set the process in motion, but at some point you can carry on by yourself.

Myth 19: Counseling is just about talking………………………

Truth: If you’ve been led to believe that, then no wonder you might think it’s pointless! Of course, talking is involved (obviously) but it’s also about being fully heard, received and understood at a much deeper level than normal conversation usually allows. It will take time for trust to build up between you and your Counselor, but after a while they may offer alternative ways of looking at things and, very gently, challenge your habitual thoughts and behaviors.

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Myth 20: Anyone can be a counselor

Truth: There are cases of people with two-month courses doing counseling and it is sadly rampant in Ghana. But truly, a counselor should have at least a master’s degree in psychology and its related areas. If you are unsure about a professional, ask them about their qualification. It’s your right to know, this is because counseling is human centered, and everything that has to do with human lives is extremely serious business which requires a licensed professional.

Myth 21: The older the counselor, the better they are

Truth: Although experience is a helpful aspect, sometimes, age can make people rigid so there is no hard or fast rule here. Each counselor is trained and with practice gains the requisite experience to be effective on the job as a counselor. Age shouldn’t be a barrier or an issue when it comes to seeking counseling, in that whether young or old, either way the counselor can relate well with the client and be of better help.

Are you aware of other myths or beliefs that serve as barriers to getting help or prioritizing self-care and emotional wellbeing? Do any of the myths discussed here resonate with you? Let’s get talking then…….

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