Going to counseling doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Actually, it says the opposite.
It takes self awareness to know that you need help working through a hard time, changing patterns or learning how to relate to others in more healthy ways. Crazy people have a split with reality, which means they aren’t insightful enough to get counseling.
Most people are smart enough to work through a lot of their own concerns if they have the space and place to do it. Those same smart people decide to come to counseling when they are not able to consistently work through things that bother them. Or, when what they’ve tried isn’t working.
So, how do you know if a therapist is right for you?
Ask yourself some questions, starting with: “Can I connect with them?”
Connection is a big deal, and you’ll know it within the first session. You need to feel comfortable with the person who counsels you. Do you feel safe talking with them? Do you think you could be honest without being judged? Are they a good listener? Do they assume they know or ask good questions? Do you think they know what they’re talking about? Do they have experience working with concerns similar to yours?
If you don’t feel like you connect with the therapist within the first hour do not continue with them! You will be investing time, money and energy into counseling. Don’t waste that on someone you don’t think will understand, care, or have the skills necessary to help you meet your goals.
Look for a counselor who offers practical advice. It’s wonderful if you’ve gained an hour to vent (that’s like an emotional massage) but even better if you get to process your thoughts and feelings and come away with one concept, perspective or idea that betters your life for the rest of the week.
There are all types of counselors—ranging from wacky to amazing. Don’t give up if you don’t connect with the first counselor you meet; instead, try another one.
Seriously, it’s worth it!