How to Know if You Need Counseling

Counseling Will Teach You More About Yourself

It is important to find a good counselor, who you can trust and feel comfortable with
It is important to find a good counselor, who you can trust and feel comfortable with | Source

Counseling Can Help in Many Ways

It is common to go to a doctor when we have physical aches and pains. But when we hurt emotionally, feel distressed, or continue with our bad habits and negative thinking, very often we don’t do anything. And if we do something, it often is to go to the doctor to alleviate a physical discomfort that may be caused by a psychological reason.


Counseling Can Help You Better Handle Situations

Counseling can help people in many ways. When someone feels depressed, anxious, has behavioral or relationship problems, and a myriad of other very human issues, therapy can be extremely helpful. With therapy, a person can be helped to gain an improved quality of life and acquire skills that enable anyone to better handle situations that can cause distress and emotional discomfort.

People come to counseling for a wide variety of reasons that range from learning to manage their lives better to feeling suicidal. We all carry baggage from our past, from the messages we tell ourselves, from our experiences, from our interpersonal interactions, from our failures, and from our self identity. Some people will seek counseling when they are attempting to deal with their children, with life’s transitions and milestones, with unresolved conflicts, anger management, feeling overwhelmed, drug abuse, and other habits that may interfere with a person’s overall emotional well being. These feelings affect the people we are, the way we behave, what we think, and how we react. We all feel these things. No one is truly alone, there is hope, help, and relief with a good qualified counselor

There is No Judgement as to How Serious or Minor Your Issues Are

When you go to see a mental health counselor, there is no judgement as to how serious or minor your issues are. If it is something that bothers you, or interferes with your life, it is worth working on improving. Every issue deserves care, attention, and every person deserves to learn how they can gain skills and coping tools to help them navigate through these and other feelings they may not even be aware of. Counseling can be for a very brief time, or for an extended time period. Counseling is customized to the individual, and patient centered.

Patient centered care means that the counselor will place your interests first, that you will be treated with respect, dignity, and with your values and needs being of utmost importance.

When Should You Go to See a Mental Health Counselor

Generally, consider going to a counselor if the difficulties you are dealing with are persisting for a long time period. If your symptoms are interfering with your daily activities, or affecting your interpersonal relationships. Couseling can help people on many levels with many different issues, from better work and study habits, to increasing your motivation, better time management, improving concentration, organizing your life, better lifestyle habits, dealing with distressful things in your life, social issues, decision making, anxiety, stress, grief, breakups, job loss, eating issues, sexuality, sexual assault, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, divorce, personal growth, self esteem, moving up the corporate ladder, cultural diversity, and other issues too numerous to mention

A Therapist Can Help With Many Emotional Issues

Very often people will seek counseling when they feel distressed, overwhelmed, and at a very low point in their lives. Sometimes certain situations can trigger a feeling that you feel you need to deal with. Sometimes people feel very alone and need someone to listen and care about their needs. Some people may be going through a tough time in their lives and seek someone to give them guidance through these rough patches.

Symptoms that may indicate you would benefit from therapy:

  • feeling depressed or a deep sense of sadness that you can’t shake
  • feeling irritable
  • feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless
  • poor self image
  • lack of concentration
  • changes in appetite, sleeping, motivation, work habits, lack of interests
  • thoughts of suicide, self injury, or harm to someone else
  • angry, uncontrolled outburst
  • hallucinations
  • behavioral changes
  • panic attacks
  • inability to function with mundane task
  • phobias
  • excessive worries
  • obsessive behavior
  • nightmares
  • dealing with feelings from a recent or past trauma
  • inappropriate behavior
  • prolonged grief
  • aging, illness with yourself or someone close to you
  • social issues


What to Expect from a Therapy Session With a Mental Health Counselor

Society and the Stigmas of Getting Help for Emotional Needs

People are sometimes reluctant to seek help. Society has attached stigmas to having breakdowns, emotional distress, behavior that is out of the "norm", and mental illness. But no one, absolutely no one, has perfect mental health. Perhaps mental illness is seen as a sign of weakness, or the complexity of being human is so difficult to understand, that it is easier to shun people when we deal with issues that can’t be seen on an x-ray, or physically defined. We can’t quantify mental health, so people fear being classified as “crazy”, and do not want anyone to know their struggles for fear of being labeled.


Everything you share with a counselor is completely private. They can not disclose anything you tell them to anyone else unless you prove that you may be a harm to yourself or to someone else. Mental health counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical social workers, and rehabilitative therapists, marriage and family therapists, are licensed professionals who must adhere to a strict code of ethics that considers all of your needs, with your confidentiality being one of the most important concerns. A professional therapist with experience has dealt with a broad range of issues and personal struggles. They probably have seen and heard so much, that anything you tell them will not be something new. The difference is that your needs and your issues are deeply personal, particular to you, and causing you pain that a good counselor will want to help you deal with in a healthy way that provides personal growth and self realization.


How to Choose a Mental Health Counselor

Choosing a qualified mental health counselor is a very personal choice.

  • Think about what things are important to you.
  • Look for a professional is seems to be a good fit for you, your needs, your personality
  • It may take several visits with different therapists to find the right match.
  • Invest the time this will take. It is an investment in yourself and well worth the effort

What to Do as You Begin Therapy

It is a personal decision to begin therapeutic treatment, one that will surely be life changing, provided the counselor is a good one. It is important to understand, not everyone in any given profession is good at what they do. So go into therapy with your eyes wide open.

  • Be prepared to ask your therapist questions. This person will be working with you, towards a shared specific effort.
  • Be an advocate for yourself, but be open as you go into therapy.
  • Be motivated, and interested in the changes you will see within yourself. There are no miracles and no shortcuts.
  • there are many different approaches to therapy, find out what type of therapy your counselor prefers to use

Therapy has been referred to as surgery without blood, because inside you will hurt as you deal with issues that uncover layers of buried feelings. But most importantly, you will heal. Without treatment these feelings will continually seep up and interfere with your happiness, daily activities and quality of life. Therapy is not an easy journey, but it is a worthwhile one, for you will have a new sense of clarity, an improved sense of yourself and a better personal development that will bring you great treasures and amazing pleasures ahead for you always. Change is good, self awareness is the best defense for a life well lived. All that you want for yourself can be achieved because you sought out help and engaged in productive counseling sessions.

You Are Allowed to Have Whatever Issues You Have

Sometimes people hesitate to enter counseling because they think they shouldn’t have these problems, or these issues should resolve themselves on their own. People do not readily reach out for help. In the absence of strong community and family support, a counselor can be very helpful to talk to for almost any life situation. Getting help for personal issues can make you feel vulnerable. But getting help will also make you stronger. It is a brave endeavor to seek help that will bring about changes and new awareness for yourself. But keeping yourself stuck, and fearing new paths is a cruel thing to do to yourelf. One positive step will lead to more positive steps and a rewarding experience that will better equip you for all things you have yet to encounter.

Often counseling sessions are 45 minutes to one hour long, once a week. Sometimes more sessions in a week may be needed.

Counseling can be very effective when it comes to dealing with any issue that is bothering you. Your mental health is important to your overall well being.

Ask Yourself These Questions to Help Decide if You Should See a Mental Health Professional

No matter what, even if there is not much bothering you, seeing a qualified mental health counselor can still be a good idea. However below are some questions to ask yourself, if you are in debate about entering a therpists:

  • Do you find yourself worrying excessively?
  • Has your weight drastically changed?
  • Do you have loss of appetite?
  • Do you have sleeping difficulties?
  • Do you have trouble concentrating, or focusing on getting tasks done?
  • Are you feeling hopeless, or in despair?
  • Are you abusing substances like alcohol and/or drugs?
  • Do you have less patience with people in your life?
  • Are you feeling more frustrated?
  • Are you exhibiting more signs of anger?
  • Are there changes in behavior in your mate or other close family members that are bothering you?
  • Is your relationship in peril?
  • Do you find yourself feeling sad, and not being able to shake it
  • Do you feel more stressed, or are there things going on that are stressful to you?
  • Are you grieving for someone or even a pet?
  • Are you dealing with elderly parents?
  • Are you dealing with diffiulties in your relationship with your children?
  • Do you have feelings of isolation and lonliness?
  • Have you ever experienced a traumatic event?
  • Do you have unexplained aches and pains?

It is a Good Idea to Go to a Mental Health Counselor

Sometimes you can have unexplained aches and pains that a doctor does not diagnose a medical condition for. This may be due to something psychological that manifests itself in real physical symptoms. It is important to recognize that the ailments may really exist, but are caused by the emotional feelings.

Counseling can help you reframe your thinking so that your attitude and approach give you different results.

Dissatisfaction in your one or more areas of your life can signal the need to seek counseling. You don’t need to feel alone, you don’t have to feel stuck, and the difficulties you have do not have to be your legacy. You can make real and positive changes in yourself. You can lead a fulfilling and happy life. You can feel empowered and you can feel better. Strength is getting help when you need it. Be bold, be brave, be strong. Do what you know is best for you. Call a mental health counselor today and the breakthroughs you gain will make it all worthwhile.

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Comments 14 comments

mfaithone 4 years ago

Insightful article. Mental illness is exactly that illness, and as your article so aptly states nothing to be ashamed of.


kissayer profile image

kissayer 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

This is an excellent hub, mental illness is so prevalent these days but often people just don't know how to get help or whether they even need help - your hub would be extremely helpful!

Voted up :)


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi MF, Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my hub. I am glad you found it insightful.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi Kristy, We all need a support system, someone to that we can talk to, someone that can guide us. Therapy is a way for people to get that and learn about themselves and gain coping skills that will help them always. I am glad you enjoyed this hub, and I appreciate your comments.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend, this is all great and valuable information to help anyone who has these types of problems so they can seek help quicker so they will feel better sooner . Well done !

Vote up and more !!! Sharing !


DoItForHer 4 years ago

I have quite a negative view on confidentiality; will do a Hub on it when I get a computer again.

I also have found that talking does help to understand the situation, but when it comes to truly needing help to make a needed change, one is often left hanging.

Counseling has provided a great deal of personal growth, but has effected a relatively small change in my life.

How's that for bitter? This is not the type of thing I should be expressing, but it is truly how I feel. Whether I've misled myself or not, not everyone who has counseling has wonderful results.

Do not let my bummer attitude dissuade you from counseling! Try it and make your own decision. It may not be what you expected, but you will be a better person for it in some way.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi Tom, I am glad you enjoyed this hub. Since counseling has to do with my profession, I try to encourage people seek help when they feel they need it. Thanks for commenting.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi DoIt, I can understand your feelings about counseling. Mental Health Counseling has to do with my profession and how well you do in therapy has a great deal to do with the quality of the counselor. There are a lot of counselors who probably should not be in practice. But there are a lot of mental health professionals who truly are good at what they do. You are totally accurate, not everyone has wonderful results. It could be the counselor. It could have to do with the expectations of the client, and the dedication it takes to get through the personal changes. I hope one day, you are fortunate to find someone who suits you better than you have, and leaves you with a better feeling. Counseling with a good therapist can have better results than you expect. I have been on both sides, as a counselor, and as a client. I have encountered bad counselors who don't help. I have encountered clients who don't work at therapy. But if you go into the sessions with a determination and dedication to do the work, and the therapist is a good one, guaranteed counseling will help.


Helena Ricketts profile image

Helena Ricketts 4 years ago from Indiana

I've been a few times when I was younger and can say that talking to a complete stranger who would just listen really helped me relax and stay calmer through some really trying events in my life. I highly recommend it to anyone going through a rough spot in their life.


onegoodwoman 4 years ago

I have in the past, treasured, not the friend that would readily agree with me...........but the one, who would stand up and challenge my own point of view.

With a challenging sort of friend, who will simply have a long lunch with you..........all therapists, and their huge bills will no longer be necessary.

My friends are not the ones who " agree" with me, but the people, who make me view the other point of interest.

Good friends............


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi Helena, I am glad you found a therapist who helped you. Talk therapy has been shown on imaging machines like an fMRI to have positive effects on the brain. And there are many benefits to seeing a counselor. I am glad it worked out well for you.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi OneGoodWoman, There is so much to be said for friendships. Friendships offer so much in support and an ear to listen. You probably heard the saying that goes something like this - Good friends say they will be there when you need them. A best friend says they will be there... whether you need them or not. You are a lucky person to have such people in your life. I only suggest counseling, because someone who is good at therapy will help add insight to the things you do, so that you attract many more positive things towards you.


Moon Willow Lake profile image

Moon Willow Lake 4 years ago

Thank-you for this hub. I agree with what you have written. The one piece that I personally would stress to anyone is that it really is all about the fit between the therapist/counselor and you. There are some counselors that will let you talk about anything, like average day-to-day happenings that you would feel comfortable talking about with just about anyone, whether or not s/he realizes you are avoiding your own "real" issues when doing so. The good ones will support you and ease you into yourself by helping to "dig" through your issues so that they do come up and do get dealt with. The other thing to remember is that it won't work if you're not truly ready for it; self permission is also key.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi Moon, There is much wisdom in what you say, and I appreciate your contribution to this hub. You are absolutely correct. Effective therapy is most helpful when it gets you slightly uncomfortable and even to some point of pain. Then you can achieve real personal growth. A psychologist I knew once said, therapy is surgery without blood. It is so true. And you are right, you need to be ready, because when you are ready, you are more open and willing to change. Therapy is hard work, but worth it for so many reasons. A qualified counselor and a willing client can do so much important work together.

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