The Stigma of Counselling
BEFORE COUNSELLING: I thought if I needed a counsellor, it meant there was something wrong with me.
AFTER: Through counselling, I've learned there is nothing wrong with me. I'm ok and I'm enough and I feel better when I have an "outside of my daily life" person to connect with.
BEFORE COUNSELLING: I'll go to help me through this situation. Then I'll be able to "handle it", on my own.
AFTER: Life has many challenges and I feel better with regular "maintenance" sessions instead of "crisis" sessions. Going regularly is "handling it".
BEFORE COUNSELLING: I thought if I "needed" a counsellor, I must be weak, unable to cope (like everyone else magically does)
AFTER COUNSELLING: I've learned having a counsellor is courageously taking care of and taking responsibility for myself. My perception of everyone else always feeling top notch is just that, a perception, perhaps a misperception.
MY COUNSELLOR DOES'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO. EVEN WHEN I ASK HIM TO!
I am so grateful for the support & guidance of a trained professional who I trust and see regularly, who I can cry and freak out to, be quiet with, while he just hangs out calmly until I'm ready to say something, and he's cool with it.
- My counsellor kindly calls me out when I change the subject or joke to avoid feelings and he notices when I look down or away, gently encouraging me to explore that discomfort. He cares, he listens and he doesn't tell me what to do. At all. I don't like being told what to do and when I'm at a loss and ask him to tell me what to do, he still doesn't.
- He reminds me that I'm capable of feeling what I'm feeling and experiencing what I'm experiencing and reminds me that I don't need to plan what I will need to do later- just one moment and one breath at a time.
- My counsellor is a powerful part of my "taking care of Amy toolbox". I would so love for everyone to have the support and encouragement of a person who plays a role like this in their lives.
MAINTENANCE: I've found that seeing my counsellor regularly, whether I feel like I "need" to talk to him or not, has been one of the best tools for me. This way, I'm more checked in instead of waiting until I've checked out and feel like I'm crawling back shamefully off track, to check back in. My work with him is maintenance and self-care and for me, I feel better when I see him whether my beloved mind "thinks" it's "necessary" or not. Sometimes I feel emotional, sometimes I'm completely unaware of my $#!+ and always I am grateful that I've taken a step to connect with a professional to guide me back home to myself. It's where I belong. Home to Me.
- Amy Reedman