Despite information campaigns by governments throughout the world, mental health still remains somewhat of a shameful, taboo issue that people don’t discuss easily. Going to see a therapist, a psychiatrist or a psychologist must mean that you are one step away from needing to be institutionalised! Perhaps you are even dangerous!
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Counselling can help people struggling with a wide range of problems, from life-threatening drug addiction, alcoholism, smoking, unresolved childhood issues, social anxiety or even specific problems such as fear of flying.
Whether you are trying to find a healthy balance between the various demands of your everyday life or need to reopen the channels of communication with your loved ones, counselling can help you.
How Do I know if I Need Counselling?
People seeking counselling come from various backgrounds and age groups, and have unique issues so there are no standard criteria. One thing for sure is that you shouldn’t do it because your spouse, parents, children or friends tell you to! Your counsellor can only help you if you are open and honest, and unless you are the one who made the decision to start therapy, you will be likely to drag your feet all the way and get very little out of the process.
There are, however, various indicators that you might benefit from counselling, and here are the most common ones:
- You are going through a crisis
Sudden changes in our lives and how we manage them are often catalysts which bring repressed issues to the surface when everything seemed to be going well. Relationship breakdowns are one of life’s most stressful events, accompanied with grief but also often self-doubt, feelings of rejection, and sometimes anger towards the other partner. If there are underlying issues in your life, these natural emotions will sometimes be magnified and you may find it hard to move on.
Bereavement can also be the reason why someone seeks counselling. Losing a loved one can cause you to question your identity as you have to “re-invent” yourself without that person.
Retirement, children leaving home, stress-related illness are also triggers which can stir buried feelings or simply force you to reassess your life.
- You feel stuck
Perhaps you live your life with a feeling of déjà-vu. It may be that you can’t move on from a situation, or that you can see patterns repeating themselves: less-qualified people getting promoted before you, relationships which always seem to evolve the same way… Whether you can pinpoint what feeds the issue or not, counselling can help you to delve into your dynamics and identify how to break the vicious circle.
- You feel something isn’t “quite right”
This is often the situation in which it takes longest for people to seek help: they can’t quite put the finger on what it is that troubles them and, on the whole, they are able to function perfectly well – so how on earth would they explain this vague, shapeless feeling to someone else? They may go through phases where everything seems overwhelming, followed by a temporary lull when they put it all out of their mind, but sooner or later, their latent dissatisfaction or sadness come back.
If you experience mood swings regularly, have difficulty sleeping or eating, feel anxious for no reason or are having trouble dealing with everyday life, it may be a sign that you could benefit from putting yourself under the microscope and find the root of your anxiety.
- You need help with a specific issue
Counselling is an umbrella term which covers many therapies and approaches to solving issues, so it isn’t always about lying down on a couch for years before you feel better. Some therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT are very hands-on and give you practical solutions to help you manage whichever area of your life you are struggling with. Whether you are having panic attacks, you suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, you find it difficult to assert yourself, etc…, cognitive therapies will be particularly effective to help you recognise negative thinking and replace it with new attitudes, often far quicker than traditional psychological treatment would have achieved.
Even people who have a supportive network of friends and relatives can find themselves at a place where they need counselling. Talking with a stranger may seem odd but it will also give you great freedom to discuss anything openly without having to worry about hurting your loved ones’ feelings. Thanks to their professional training, counsellors will guide you onto the path of recovery which is most suitable for you so that you can enjoy the fulfilling life that you deserve.
If you are looking for counselling in Auckland City, contact Robert Street Clinic or call us on 09 973 5950.