• Lillian Strom, AMFT

Counseling. What is it?

Someone recently asked me what counseling was.  Over the years I've learned there are several misconceptions about counseling.  Some people think counseling is like going to a friend when you’re upset and talking.  So why pay someone to be your friend?  Other explanations of counseling I’ve heard are for “troubled” kids and adults or “crazy” kids and adults; people that can’t handle their problems or life.  Then, there are those that see counseling as a discipline. It’s required when you get in trouble at school or in legal trouble.  There are still people that feel it’s something to be embarrassed about and ashamed of.  In reality, the way our society has viewed and used this resource has been wrong all along and it’s created a stigma preventing people from pursuing help.  What negative views of counseling have you heard or even have?  
Counseling is a resource anyone and everyone can benefit from.  People from every walk of life can and have benefited from counseling.  Maybe you’re in crisis.  Maybe you’re not.  Either way, it’s a safe place where you get non-judgmental support. Your therapist’s office is a place where you are heard.  We don’t just listen to your words, we hear your words with your feelings and experience those feelings with you.  You can discuss your stressors, your failing relationship, your abusive childhood, betrayals, frustration, fears, hurts, anxiety, depression, confusion and anything else that comes up in your life.  A therapist is not someone who is going to say you are wrong about how you feel; your therapist won’t invalidate your feelings about any of your experiences and brush you off.  You will definitely not be a burden to your therapist.  What your therapist will do is explain psychological and emotional processes, helping you to understand yourself on a deeper level.  We will challenge you to think about things from a different perspective, sit with you while you feel pain, and validate every emotional experience.  They will help you find words for experiences and feelings you don’t have words for.  You’ll have a safe place to heal psychologically and emotionally from trauma and other moments of pain in your life.  You’ll learn how to feel and process emotions you’ve pushed aside and avoided.  Maybe you’ll discover things about yourself you were never able to accept before.  Therapy is a place of healing and discovery with safety as everything is held in strict confidence.   How would you benefit from counseling?
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