Common Messages about Counseling

Misperceptions may often prevent one from seeking counseling. The media, family and friends, as well as larger cultural messages often shape these perceptions. Do any of the following statements sound familiar?

“Be strong”
The messages of well-meaning friends, family, and acquaintances may prevent one from seeking help.

In reality, the decision to seek help is very courageous.
It takes great strength to acknowledge that one is struggling and be willing to make a change.

“Don’t tell everyone your business”
Generally, what you reveal in counseling is treated as confidential.

Your written permission is required before a counselor can even acknowledge that you attended a session.
Exceptions to confidentiality occur when a person is at risk.

“Everybody’s gonna think I’m crazy”
Sometimes your own misperceptions may prevent you from seeking help. In reality, people seek counseling for a variety of reasons. Counseling may be helpful in preventing crises or other emergencies that may develop when issues are unresolved.

“It’s just a waste of time”
Counseling involves change, which is rarely simple or easy. Your readiness is essential to successful outcomes. A counselor may be helpful to you in expanding options or providing alternative perspectives.

Your self-awareness and understanding are essential to ongoing personal growth.