There are a variety of reasons a person might give for not wanting to go to counseling. You might be that person. We counselors get it. There are no guarantees when you walk into that office, and it is scary and vulnerable work you’re signing up for.
If you’re averse to going to counseling (or know someone who is), you’re definitely not alone. Here are a few reasons we hear why people don’t want to go to counseling (and a few reasons we think they should reconsider….).
1. Bad past experiences with counseling.
If someone has been to counseling and had a negative experience it can be really wounding. You’re taking a leap of vulnerability by just showing up, and if you don’t feel as if your counselor handled your bravery with care then why would you want to go back? Unfortunately, there are some bad counselors out there. But it’s also possible to just not click with a counselor. Counseling is a relationship after all. Therapists have personalities, styles, theories and approaches that all play into the therapeutic relationship. Your experience with one counselor can be different from an experience with another.
If you’ve had a bad counseling experience, consider giving it another shot with someone new. Ask someone you trust for recommendations of therapists in your area that are known for being good, solid counselors. Call the counseling office and explain what you’re looking for to see if that counselor is a good fit or not. Not all counselors are the same, and it is worth spending some time finding the right fit and forming a strong counseling relationship.
2. A negative stigma with mental health.
We are all mental and emotional beings. In fact, many counselors address the person as a whole: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual components makeup who we are. So it stands to reason that we all need to spend some time on mental and emotional growth. Focusing on exploring our emotional health, setting goals, working toward them, and in some cases finding healing is important to our overall health as an individual.
Yet, counseling is commonly associated with negative connotations. We all have work to do on our minds, hearts and souls. That work can be accomplished with a trained professional as a partner. Just as you visit a doctor for your physical health, counseling is necessary to holistic wellness. Consider the benefits of caring for yourself in this way and challenge the thinking you’ve held about mental health care being negative. It’s an aspect of ourselves that we all need to attend to.
3. Counseling is expensive.
There is sometimes sticker shock to the cost of a counseling appointment. But you have options! Here are a few considerations for finding affordable counseling solutions.
First, ask your counselor if they take insurance. If they do, you are only responsible for the co-pay which is often significantly less than the hourly rate. If they don’t take insurance, they may still be able to provide you with the necessary receipts to submit your own insurance reimbursement which can also be really helpful.
If insurance is not an option, discuss your financial concerns with the counselor you’d like to schedule with. Some counselors have access to scholarships or fee relief plans for clients who need it.
But also, really consider the investment that counseling will be for you. The progress, growth, healing and interpersonal reward is worth some sacrifice. Explore your options and don’t be discouraged by the cost of a session.
4. It’s hard to make room for counseling with everything else going on.
I was recently speaking with a client who said “I’ll make time for my emotions when everything else settles down.” I totally get this. In the middle of all the chaos, who has time to ‘explore their feelings’? Just getting through each day is an accomplishment.
That may be true for some seasons. But in others, there’s some wisdom to addressing your core issues in counseling even in the midst of a really busy or overwhelming time. Often, counseling can provide some insight that offers relief to the chaos. It is a space where solutions can be found and lifestyle experiences altered in a way that actually settles the chaos.
Maybe when things are at their heightened state is actually the time when counseling can be the most helpful.
5. There are other people to talk to without going to counseling.
Having a good support system is absolutely necessary. Friends, mentors, pastors, and community are so valuable to our health. The people in our life are amazing for supporting us, giving advice, and offering empathy. This is so necessary and serves a role that nothing else can fill in our lives. But they do not have the training to implement some of the tools that a licensed counselor can offer you.
Counselors are skilled in therapeutic techniques that serve a specific role for our clients. As clinicians, therapists have knowledge and tools to offer clients that our friends and community cannot provide. Licensed professionals can offer you valuable opportunities for processing and growth that are worth giving a shot.
If you’ve had any of these thoughts about counseling, it makes sense. But maybe there are some reasons to reconsider? Counseling is valuable for individuals of all seasons and life stages. Life can be difficult to navigate. The tools available to you in counseling can help. Consider scheduling the first appointment to just explore and discuss your concerns about the process with the counselor. If you’d like to talk to someone at Crossroads, you can call (225) 341-4147 or email [email protected] to start the conversation.