The “I’m not broken enough to need counselling” myth
If you’ve ever thought to yourself “but things aren’t THAT bad”, well, you’re not alone.
Many people will talk themselves out of counselling on the basis that they think there are others who are worse off than them, who need the help more and that they’re not really at rock bottom so don’t need it.
Let’s be clear……
You do not have to be ‘broken’ in some way in order to go for counselling.
But at the same time, we don’t tend to go for counselling just because we’re having a bad day or have argued with a family member. Somewhere, in between those two ends of the spectrum are the thousands of people who, every day, benefit from having counselling.
Maybe you’d be one of them.
There are many reasons why people choose to go for counselling.
Whilst feeling utterly stuck, with no other options, might be one of them, there are many, many more.
Signs that counselling could be helpful for you
- A niggling sense that something just doesn’t feel right, in your internal world.
- Feeling ‘not yourself’.
- Ongoing patterns in your life that are causing you to feel unhappy – these might be in relationships with others or in your own behaviours.
- Something difficult and distressing in your life – either from the past (abuse or trauma for example) or currently, that you’d like to resolve.
- You may be noticing that you’re struggling with sleep, losing your temper, crying more than is usual for you, eating more / not eating enough; these can all indicate an underlying issue in your life that needs addressing.
- Perhaps you’ve gone through something really life changing, such as a diagnosis of a serious illness or a bereavement, and could benefit from help in adjusting to a new way of living.
If you’re recognising yourself in any of these points, then I wonder what’s getting in the way of you starting the process?
As humans, we do have a tendency to minimise the seriousness of things we’re slightly afraid of. “I’m fine, I’m ok honestly” as we lie on the floor with a sprained ankle, not wanting to acknowledge the pain we’re in. Or “I think it just needs to warm up a bit” as our car engine splutters, not wanting the hassle and expense of getting it to a garage so that we can find out what’s really wrong!
As soon as we get ourselves to the doctor, or the garage, well we’re acknowledging that the problem is real, and that can feel scary, right?
Perhaps there’s another way of looking at it. How would it be to ask yourself “could I benefit from counselling?”
Could you benefit from having space and time on a regular basis to just be totally and honestly, you? Even when you might not feel there’s anything ‘wrong’ it can still be enormously helpful.
In any given moment, we have two options; to step forward into growth or to step back into safety” (Abraham Maslow)
Counsellors have counselling too.
Not because we’re in some kind of crisis (though we’re not immune from having those!), but because it’s seen as a really essential part of our own personal development and self care. On both occasions where I’ve been in counselling I didn’t have a specific ‘thing’ that caused me to be there, but I soon found that things surfaced for me that it was then helpful to explore and think about more deeply.
And with every encounter I learnt a bit more about myself, which had a benefit in my life outside the therapy room, as well as in my work with clients. Find out more about why counsellors have counselling in this article
Of course, what you really want to know is that if you take the brave step of reaching out for counselling, is it going to help?
That’s what I’ll be talking about next.