What is Counseling?

The terms therapy and counselor (as well as therapist and counselor) are used interchangeably.

They are the same thing. Webster defines counseling as “the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties, especially by a

professional.” 

 

Although it’s “cool” to say “my therapist says,” there are valid fears when it comes to actually going to counseling. The stigma of being labeled as “crazy and opening up to a stranger is real.

I can cite all kinds of statistics about the benefits of counseling but let me cite my own experience as a client of a counselor. As a young adult, I was going through so much and my friends and family weren’t being as helpful as they’d once been with their advice. I went on

Google and searched for therapists, I checked Psychology Today for a therapist, I asked friends, mentors and even co-workers for a therapist. By the time my research was complete, I had received the names of about ten therapists. I didn’t call one of those suggestions until about 8 months later! I was okay with going to a therapist but I was afraid of having a stranger judge me and all of my mess.

I was afraid that I wouldn’t get a therapist that understood me. I was afraid that I was too far gone and a professional couldn’t even help me.

Again, all of my (and your) fears were valid but fears should never stop you from seeing someone 

who can help you. Therapists are

not going to judge you! Chances are they’ve heard everything (and probably more) that you’ve been through…they may have been through it themselves!

 

Would you ever listen to someone telling you not to take a medicine that could help you feel better? No! So why would you allowing someone to stop you from getting the emotional help you need via counseling? The same way that not all hairstyles are for everyone, all

therapists aren’t for everyone either. You can and you will find a therapist that will understand you and you and your therapist will understand each other.

All in all, beginning therapy can be a fear inducing process but I believe therapy is a careful dance between a therapist and a client. No one can lead, no one can slack, but when both parties are working together towards to the same goal, it’s a beautiful process!

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Washington, DC, USA

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