This article has been written by: Suzie Hart
Counselling: Why We All Need It
I was 23 when I finally admitted to myself that I needed counselling. It sounded like such a dramatic line when I said it to my friends and family. Admittedly, I felt ashamed to say it – I felt it made me less of a person like somehow I was weak or damaged. What I failed to realise at the time, was that admitting I needed professional help did not make me weak – in fact it did the opposite, it made me stronger. I saw an area of my life that needed work and I actively sought someone’s help to work on it, rather than burying the problem and letting it turn sour.
Over the course of 2 months, I regularly met up with a wonderful Christian counsellor who patiently listened to me ramble on about my life, and she never once expressed judgement or criticism. It felt liberating to speak to someone who knew nothing about me. Counselling changed my life. It made me become more self-aware, counsellors taught me to question my thoughts, they pushed me to love myself more and they created a safe space for me to be as open as I wanted to be. I loved having that sense of privacy, where the counsellor knew nothing about me and I was just a blank slate to them – there was no room for judgement, betrayal of trust or developments of a deep emotional attachment.
More and more people; young and old, are seeking counselling.They are realizing that some things in life cannot be fixed by talking to a friend, no matter how well-meaning people can be. It can be difficult to admit to your loved ones that you need help, especially in certain cultures, like in my own culture as an Asian – therapy or counselling is seen as an upper class privilege. Mental health issues tend to be shrugged off or terribly stigmatized. But seeking help shows a deep sense of self awareness and humility and it will lead to better mental health.
It’s also vitally important that we don’t seek help one-off and that we make counselling part of our schedules. Have mid week check-ins with your counsellor and talk about everything that’s happened so far, because they can often ask the right questions or help you process your thoughts during the week. Don’t allow yourself to get too sucked into work life so that you put your mental health on the back burner – counselling has the power to change your thinking and change your life if you let it.
The last and most important thing counselling did for me in my young life, was turn my life around. By simply having someone around, who asked me the right questions about what I was doing with my life – I began to ask myself those questions too and identify unhelpful patterns that were driving me to addiction or a life of utter disappointment.
Counselling can often help show you patterns in your behaviour and deal with the root problems in your life and by having someone just listen to you, sometimes it can be super therapeutic and you may develop your own answer to your problems while you talk about them.