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Let's get rid of the stigma around counselling.

Counsellor, that horrible icky word. A counsellor is someone who only asks, “and how does that make you feel” right? Wrong!

I want you to answer these questions for me (I promise they’re easy):

How did you learn to walk?

Who taught you to write?

How did you learn to swim?

I’m guessing most of you answered with something like my parents taught me; I went to swimming school; and my parents and teacher taught me. Was I close?

Now answer this question. Who taught you how to deal with your emotions?

Pixar film Inside Out explored how to deal with the range of our emotions.

A little harder to answer, right? I mean it’s not like you have an exploring emotions class in school (How could they? Everyone deals with emotions differently) and your parents don’t always directly tell you how to deal with them.

For me, I watched and copied what other people were doing. This method didn’t teach me how to be true to myself and it definitely didn’t help me with ANY of my relationships (romantic or otherwise). You see, I have a few stress-head family members, so I learnt how to get stressed. I have some extremely negative and angry ones as well, so I learnt how to yell and have a negative outlook on life… Great!

counsellor
There is significant stigma surrounding counselling. Image via iStock.

I want you to answer one more question for me: why is there a negative stigma around counselling?

If you asked me that question a few years ago and I would have said something like: “All they do is ask ‘and how does that make you feel’. Why would I pay for that? If I go, it means I’m a failure or they’re going to judge me.”

Ask me that question now and I can’t give you a real answer besides “lack of knowledge”. People haven’t been taught the benefits of seeing a counsellor. They have been taught that you should keep your struggles to yourself, you shouldn’t burden other people with your worries and you should suffer quietly. Apparently it’s glamorous.

This has led to the stigma around counselling and it needs to be stopped.

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There is nothing glamorous about struggling and as someone who has struggled quite a lot in life, I can tell you that it would have been easier if I shared what I was going through. But I didn’t know that sharing your emotions was okay. I didn’t know that I would feel so much better if only I learnt how to deal with it all. I just didn’t know and that is why I am writing this article. I want to show you all that you are NOT a failure and that everyone can benefit from seeing someone.

"...everyone can benefit from seeing someone". Image via iStock.
“… everyone can benefit from seeing someone”. Image via iStock.

As we discovered above, you have been taught how to do almost everything in your life, so why shouldn’t you be taught how to deal with all the emotions you face?

Counsellors are not there to judge you. They definitely don’t think you’re a failure (everyone defines success differently) and they don’t just ask you “how does that make you feel?”.

So what do they do?

Well, they:

Create a safe judgement free environment for you to share your feelings (… even if that is about how annoyed you are that someone cut in front of you while driving causing you to almost have an accident.)

Provide professional advice (if needed/wanted) about how to deal with your emotions, and;

Allow you to schedule time for yourself or you and your partner so you can grow as an individual or a couple.

Basically they’re a major asset. Adding a counselling session could very well be the best thing you ever do. I promise that you’ll learn more about yourself and the reason you do things than you ever thought possible.

If those pesky negative thoughts come up about “counsellors”, just remember that they are humans too. They aren’t judging you because they, like all humans walking this earth, have made their own mistakes. Mistakes are just a part of life.

This post originally appeared on Healthy Happy Souls and was republished here with full permission. 

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