Many of us have heard some of the myths surrounding counselling and therapy - the most common one being: “It just doesn’t help…”
This can often make us feel apprehensive about finding a counselor or getting help from the NHS and Talking Therapies.
In this blog, I’m going to give my thoughts on some of these misconceptions and shine a light on the real, practical benefits of counselling and therapy for those dealing with depression & anxiety.
“Seeing a counsellor won’t change my circumstances…”
You are right, a counsellor can’t change your circumstances.
However, a counsellor can help you to explore your choices, and help you to choose the best response to the situation you bring to them.
When we come to realise that we have the power of choice, our circumstances become opportunities to make positive changes in our lives.
“Talking doesn’t change my situation…”
Talking in itself doesn’t change something. However, I have seen that through talking to a counsellor (who is impartial), you are given the opportunity to process feelings and thoughts in a space outside of your mind.
This is useful because it can often become overwhelming trying to deconstruct emotions by yourself. In comparison, when a counsellor is reflecting your thoughts and feelings back to you, you can process them clearly and effectively.
I believe knowledge is power, and the more we understand about our circumstances, the more in control we feel. As a result, our emotional response to problems is reduced and we can think constructively about how we move forward.
“Counsellors aren’t effective as they don’t give advice.”
You are right that counsellors don’t give advice, and this can seem frustrating if we want someone to make a decision for us. However, this is not a counsellor’s role.
Counsellors are there to help you explore the choices available to you. They are not there to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do in a given situation.
We all have different ideas of what is right and wrong and will all make different choices. A counsellor can help you explore what choices and decisions you want to make and may suggest practical next steps based on your decision.
“A counsellor could never understand, as they haven’t been through what I have.”
It is true a counsellor has not been through your journey and experiences.
However, what a counsellor does have is empathy for what you have experienced. Maybe you have experienced deep pain, loss, abuse, disappointment or suffering… - Your counsellor is equipped to listen as you work through these experiences.
I believe all people could benefit from being heard without judgement.
“Counsellors sit in silence which is a waste of time.”
Some therapies are based on the client doing the talking which suits some people to be listened to and heard, and other therapies are more interactive.
There are many different types of therapy and it is worth finding one that suits you.
Have a look at our additional support & resources page for a list of therapies available - find what works for you.
Keeping in touch with how we process emotions, make decisions and communicate with others is important for our mental wellbeing - especially if you are suffering with anxiety & depression.
When we talk about therapy or counselling we often talk about it as a last resort for mental illness. Yet, similar to exercise or a healthy diet, counselling and therapy are often key to keeping yourself mentally well.
The skills you learn in mindfulness and decision-making can help in all areas of your life - it’s a useful resource for everyone, not just those suffering with anxiety & depression.
Having busted a few common myths surrounding counselling and therapy, I hope you seek out some form of therapy or counselling and feel confident in it’s effectiveness.
If you are feeling depressed & anxious, or know someone who is suffering, please check out our local and upcoming courses. They are 100% free and a wonderful support network for those struggling.