Why Choose Counseling?

I came across a blog post by Jodie Gale, MA, BSW, in which she explores both the reasons why a person should consider counseling and the long term benefits counseling can provide.  I’m going to elaborate on some of the benefits (and tweak a few that I think can be combined) that she mentions in her post.

  1. Receive support, empathy and compassion from someone who is objective.  That’s not to say friends and family are not great support, but sometimes those close to us can feel we tell them what we think they want to hear.  Having an objective person who doesn’t have the same sort of history as you can be very affirming.
  2. Heal from early childhood wounding and abuse.  Oftentimes we can get stuck living in the past, which then results in letting that past overtake your present time.  Finding ways to share these difficult memories and then letting go can be freeing.
  3. Find resolution and freedom from the pervasive underlying causes of problems, which often include self-destructive thoughts and behaviors.  We don’t always take the time to understand why we do the things we do, or we get caught in the same loop as a result of some of the problems that began a long time ago.  Working with a counselor can help folks make new plans to break old patterns that are no longer helpful in our present lives.
  4. Reduce stress, anxiety, depression and other symptoms of distress.  There are so many harmful effects of stress including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and sleeping difficulties. Additionally, research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms of diseases.  Stress also is harmful when a person starts using illicit substances to relieve stress, which can lead to addictions and other health problems and behaviors.
  5. Learn how to manage, accept and see the value in a wide range of feelings.  One helpful tool I’ve learned about is that often people believe they are their emotion and become so connected to that emotion they allow it to take over and influence harmful behaviors.  For instance a person may get angry at their colleague for taking credit for something they did, perhaps this isn’t the first time it’s happened.  You become angry and frustrated and would like to cuss that person out.  Instead, take a step back.  Own your anger, but understand that it is only an emotion that does not need to rule your day or week.  Take the time to figure out a proactive way to address this, whether it be talking to a supervisor or finding a time to confront this person about how their actions affect you.  Now you’ve felt the range of emotions from anger, hurt/sadness, to nervous (maybe from having to address this), relief, and then maybe a sense of hopefulness that this issue can be resolved.
  6. Enhance emotional intelligence and build  a strong foundation for healthy relationships.  Learn how to build support systems and increase social skills.  We can all benefit from having these and looking at these as life goes on.
  7. Increase self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-worth and self-confidence.  Become more intuitive and unleash creativity.  Experience self-actualization and self-realization.  Who doesn’t want these in their life?
  8. Gain a greater sense of clarity, focus and concentration.  It can get so easy to become inundated with the obligations and responsibilities of our school, careers, family, friends, interests, groups, etc.  Finding ways to focus in and concentrate on what matters to us most can be very beneficial and self-preserving.
  9. Have a more conscious relationship with money, food, career or whatever else it is that you may be struggling with.  Money, food and careers can all be overwhelming and sometimes can cause us to freeze into holding patterns that aren’t healthy and can cause huge amounts of stress.  Counseling can help you gain perspective and build new plans to address problematic stressors.
  10. Build a toolbox of self-care, coping and life skills.  What we’ve tried before might not work the same at this point in our lives.  Find new ways to address old obstacles!  Apply newfound awareness and skills to all areas of your life.
  11. Discover value, meaning and purpose in life and out of past suffering.  Take time to dream about your life again.  And don’t stop at one dream, dream dreams!
  12. Develop compassion, kindness and gratitude towards self and others.  This can add to an overall positive outlook that can lift spirits and feed the soul.
  13. Experience a sense of inner peacefulness and calm.
  14. Live a conscious life.  Know why you are doing what you are doing and believe in what you are doing.

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