As I sit here and wonder what to write for this blog post, I reflect the impact that counseling can have on people. As I have gone for counseling myself, I know that sitting across from a therapist is not easy. You are asked to talk about intimate, personal issues. Often times the words you speak to a therapist have not been spoken to other people, even your own family.
What motivates someone to seek counseling: a broken relationship, a job out of hell, or a sick child? All the things that may motivate someone to talk to a therapist are usually things that are wrought with feelings of sadness, anger, loss, betrayal, resentment, and the list goes on.
So then I think… no wonder it is hard for my clients to get to my office each week for their appointment! It is hard to face the reality of the world we live in, and the life that we all find ourselves to be in. At times the world we live in is chaotic, unpredictable, and unfair. Why can’t we get what we want?! There is a difference between what we want and what we need. As a therapist, often see that my clients have what they need in their lives. They just might not be receiving what they want.
It is hard to accept what happens to us as we live our life. How come this didn’t happen? Or why did that happen? It is challenging not to question the events that unfold in the storyline of our lives. Why did my son pass away at an age way too young? How come my ex-girlfriend broke up with me?
Oftentimes we are left feeling lost, unloved, or unwanted. What happens when something horrible takes place and we don’t know how to receive it, let alone understand it? Counseling can be an avenue to address the things that are challenging to accept. It is having an undeniably neutral person listen to you, acknowledge your feelings, and help you help yourself accept and understand. It is that emotional embrace we all need by someone who genuinely cares for us, and allows us to be the “defective” and imperfect human beings we all are. That empathic smile, the acknowledging nod, and the tolerant words spoken by therapists allow clients to appreciate their mistakes and learn to grow and evolve.
So when my client walks through my door, often I wonder how I can help them. Not to tell them what to do, but merely to offer a supportive and safe environment for them to explore their darkest secrets or perhaps their hopeful dreams. A place to accept their “character flaws,” and become more aware of how they create the story-line and the stage of the performance that is life. Give counseling a chance, and you surely will welcome the doors that are opened that you never knew were there.