Counselling is only for crazy people.
We all feel stressed, angry or low at some point in our lives. We all have moments when we feel we cannot not cope or carry on. We make bad decisions or behave badly. Welcome to the human race. This is normal! People who come in for counselling are normal people who happen to be going through a specific difficulty in life or who are seeking avenues to meet some personal goals. If you are having difficulty in coping or figuring something out, it’s all right to get help. You’re not crazy! Counselling will lend you a helping hand and give you some respite while you regain your footing.
Only people with a serious mental illness go in for counselling.
Don’t you need to have a serious mental illness in order to seek counselling? Wrong! The majority of people who come in for counselling are dealing with the everyday, common problems of life such as stress, anger or relationship issues. Many people also seek counselling to help them with general life issues such as regaining a sense of purpose or seeking meaning in life. Of course people with a serious mental illness do come into counselling. If they require medication, for example, they are referred to or dealt with in collaboration with a psychiatrist. Research has shown that you are better off dealing with your everyday, common problems now before they turn into something more serious. Don’t wait until life becomes unbearable for you before you seek help.
Counselling is only for weak people
Strong people cope with problems all by themselves. Do they really? Knowing when you need help and then making a decision to seek help are signs of a healthy decision-making ability. It comes from a place of being honest with yourself and represents an ability to reach out and access the resources that can assist you. When you do this, you are operating from a place of strength. It indicates that you have within you the ability to cope and make the right decisions for yourself. We believe that counselling helps you access the abilities and capabilities that you already have within you.
Real men don’t need counselling.
Our society is filled with notions that a “real” man will stand alone and somehow resolve all problems by himself. This attitude isolates a man, disempowers him and cuts him off from resources that could be helpful. Counsellors are geared to assist with both men’s and women’s realities. We would like as many men to come into counselling as women. The human condition is universal.
Everyone will know I am in counselling.
The bedrock of all counselling is confidentiality. Your privacy and rights are protected both during and after counselling, and the counsellor will not discuss you with anybody without your permission. Only in extreme situations, like when someone’s life is in danger, can confidentiality be broken.
A counsellor will force me to change who I am.
How many of you think going to a counsellor is like going to the headmistress or a parent? They will ultimately tell you how horrible you are and ask you to change your ways. That sounds awful! No one likes to be scolded or made to feel like the guilty party. A counsellor will not tell you how you must think or behave. What we will do is respect your reality and work with you as you explore your options. Together we will set goals that you think are important and that fit your needs. You will not be forced to accept options that go against your beliefs or values. Together, we will test various approaches and methods that suit your personality. You need to come to your own conclusion as to what fits and what doesn’t. You are in charge of any changes that you make.
Counselling will make me dependant.
People sometimes fear that counselling will make one weak and dependant, sapped of all will and energy. On the contrary, the goal of counselling is to help you get back on your feet and regain your strength. Our work aims to bring you an increased awareness, understanding and acceptance of yourself and others. Our goal for you is autonomy and independence so you don’t have to come back into counselling anymore.
A counsellor who doesn’t know me, cannot help me.
A counsellor is a stranger, how can we be of help? It is because we don’t know you that we will approach you and your reality with a clean slate. We start off with no assumptions, preconceptions or biases about you. We don’t have a stake in your life so we can be objective. We are not part of your family or your friends circle. It is precisely because of this that we can be helpful. We are neutral. Counselling is a professional relationship where our job is to listen, try and understand what you need, ask questions, seek clarifications and encourage you to craft answers and solutions that are right for you.
Every word you say in counselling will be psychoanalysed.
We want to let you in on a secret. Counsellors cannot read your mind and we don’t have a ready explanation for everything that you do. We will not blame your mother or your father for all your problems. We do not approach counselling with the view that we are the experts who know better than you. We do not see the people who come into counselling as problems that need to be solved or puzzles that need to be de-coded. We see you as a human being with a unique point of view and a life that is like no one else’s. We are humble about the trust you place in us and as we proceed in our relationship, we will learn as much from you as you do from us.
Counselling will be a quick fix to all my problems.
We hate to say this but coming into counselling is not a quick fix. It is not like going to a doctor’s office where you will be handed a prescription and some medicine that will make you all better. Counselling is a collaborative effort between the counsellor and counselee. You will have to put in precious time, effort and money into counselling. Experimenting with different ways of thinking, feeling and coping can be hard work and may leave you unsettled. You will require patience, courage and a keen desire to keep you on track.
On the other hand, the nature of the relationship you develop with your counsellor is also important. Empathy, trust and acceptance on the part of the counsellor is critical. A good connection between a counsellor and client can happen quite quickly, even within the first 10 minutes, but on average it takes 2-3 sessions. A counsellor who is a good fit for one person may not be the right person for you. Our advice is to try out a session with a potential counsellor first and evaluate how comfortable you are with their style before proceeding.