Counselling still has a bit of a bad rap and I would like to debunk a few myths I have heard of late.
Myth 1: Counselling is (very) long term.
Counselling can be relatively short term – it depends on the issue at hand. Dealing with a stressful work colleague, for example, needn’t result in months of counselling. There are different facets to counselling and one of them is termed psycho-education where information is provided within a specific context to enable clients to make more knowledgeable decisions, or better handle similar situations differently in the future.
Myth 2: I have to talk about my past.
This again will depend on the issue at hand, but also on the counsellor’s training and theoretical model from where they operate. There are theories that focus entirely on the here and now; and on the other end of the spectrum there are those who find benefit in resolving the past in order to resolve the present. This is something you can ask when first making the appointment.
Myth 3: Counselling is very expensive.
The cost of counselling varies depending on the qualification of the person you seek counselling from. Psychologists, Registered Counsellors, Social Workers and Lay Counsellors are able to offer a different level of service and therefore charge accordingly. As with any profession it is important to check the health provider’s credentials.
Myth 4: If all I am going to do is talk, can't I do that with friends?
Absolutely. Discussing pertinent issues with friends and/or family suggests a steady and reliable support system which is vital to overall mental health. However, while a good winge or cry often makes us feel better, if the matter is a more serious one, this is a temporary fix and may result in us becoming “that person who always talks about the same thing”. Counselling involves talking, but it is guided and solution oriented – where you identify possible solutions (and therefore consequences) for yourself. Which is far more empowering than following a well-meaning friend’s suggestion to put a laxative in your stressful colleague’s coffee.