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The Positive Outcomes Blog

Myths About Counseling

Counseling/Therapy is something that is misunderstood by many people; the general

public and sometimes by beginning counselors or counselors in training as well!

Common Myths:

- Counseling is only for people with serious emotional problems

While it is true that counseling is very important for individuals with serious emotional problems, counseling is very effective for ‘normal’ individuals who experience difficulties in various stages of life… recent research indicates more than 50% of individuals who seek counseling don’t have a diagnosable ‘mental illness’

- Seeking counseling is a sign of weakness

There is nothing weak about a person seeking counseling… in fact, it takes a lot of courage to admit difficulties, explore feelings and try to improve one’s life

- The counselor will tell you what to do and how to ‘fix’ your problems

Going to a counselor is not a ‘quick fix’.. the role of the counselor is to guide and support the person in exploring feelings, examining options and finding their own solutions/goals of their life

- The counselor cannot understand you unless he/she has had similar experiences

or is of the same background

Counselors are trained to be sensitive to and respectful of individual differences, including the specific concerns of clients with regard to gender, racial/ethnic, cultural, religious, age, sexual preference/orientation, and socioeconomic issues… they go through a comprehensive training program with close supervision and are well-equipped to understand their clients of dissimilar backgrounds and life experiences

- There is one best approach to therapy

In counseling, one size doesn’t fit all- there are different reliable and valid approaches to counseling/therapy and each model has its own success rate depending on the client’s presenting problems, circumstances, skill sets, age, support systems, etc. etc. Research has shown that the most effective counselors report using more than one theory, approach or tools depending on

the needs of their clients

- Counselors can ‘read my mind’

counselors are not psychic- they don’t have ‘magical powers’- the good ones have the ability to listen to what is said and not said, the ability to understand and guide; but counselors can only help you if you are willing to be helped and use the process to make changes in your life

- Counselors can make you do what you don’t want to do

No one can make you do any thing that you don’t want to. You have control over what you get or don’t get from counseling.

- I have to be pretty desperate to go to a counselor

It’s wise to recognize one’s emotions and seek help before things get out of hand. Isn’t preventive maintenance effective for cars? The same holds good for people too, no matter how well-adjusted we think we are!

- Counselors look different, act peculiar, may be strange!

Most people can’t pinpoint counselors unless they are told. There is no difference between counselors and the general population in terms of ‘acting peculiar’ or 'behaving strangely’.

- Once I start counseling, I’ll be doing it forever

Brief solution-oriented therapy is one of the most effective treatment approaches. Most people begin and end counseling at their own free will. It’s a conscious choice that people make and (planned) discharge is always a collaborative process.

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