Sometimes people come to see me, or they end up at the mental health facility, and wonder why they’re there.   It’s a common problem that people have, and it boils down to one question:

Why counseling?

Or more importantly,

Why would I need counseling?

First, I would like to say that one of the most common statements I hear from people that wonder if they made the right choice is:  “I was worried it looked bad/spoke ill of me if I went to counseling.”

Believe me, I get it.  Having been to counseling myself and a former consumer of mental health services, I can tell you that I once had that question myself.  You wonder what it says about you if you see a psychiatrist or counselor, and should friends/family/work find out, you encounter comments and sideways looks that make you question yourself.  It happens, and frankly, people can have stupid ideas and opinions.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek help.

The answer to the why is fairly straightforward.

Some folks think that if you just had a better support system, that you’ll instantaneously and miraculously get better, and that just simply isn’t the case.  You can have the most loving and wonderful friends and family who are there for you, and the most understanding boss in the world, and still get in a bad spot mentally and emotionally.

The best part about counseling is that the counselor you speak with isn’t in your circle.  We’re outside your life, not in the middle.  What looks like chaos to you, looks neat and orderly to me. I liken it to flying in an airplane and seeing the world below.  Once you get above the ground high enough, you can see the complex, connected, orderly geometry of the world, and making connections isn’t difficult.  But when you’re at ground zero, acquiring that perspective can be difficult.

And that’s where a counselor comes in.

We take you in the airplane and lead you up the mountain so that you can see where you’ve been, and see where you’re going.

Look, there’s no shame in getting help from someone.  You got in a bad spot.  So what?  You can get out of it.  You’ll feel more foolish for not asking for help when you needed it, than asking for help when you didn’t.

A good counselor will even be working towards helping you to get well, and to develop skills so that you don’t have to go back to counseling.  But even if you had to return at some point, it doesn’t mean you are weak, or unmotivated, or anything of the like.

Life happens.  Get help if you need it.

David P. Robbins

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