Misconceptions and faulty beliefs about counselling are very prominent in our society. I constantly see inaccurate images of what clients seeking counselling are like, how time is spent in counselling and the nature of the therapeutic relationship. The myths and realities listed below provide a more accurate sense of what counselling is truly like.
Myth #1: Counselling is only for crazy people
Truth: Many people who attend counselling are bright, skilled, and stable people. These individuals are often struggling with problems in a specific area and seeking personal growth and development. Stressors and difficulties are a part of life for all people. I would argue that the ability to ask for and accept counselling help represents clear evidence of intelligence, motivation and sanity!
Myth #2: Counselling is for problems that are severe
Truth: Most individuals seek counselling for everyday issues like relationship problems, stress, and symptoms of depression. It is true that counselling can be helpful for individuals experiencing from severe issues. However, seeking counselling for problems at this level does not represent the majority of clients in counselling. Additionally, attending therapy when problems are mild to moderate can prevent problems from becoming severe.
Myth #3: Counsellors just sit there, nod, and stay silent
Truth: Many stereotypes and depictions of counsellors in the media have led to their image being "touchy-feely", reading your mind, detached, or ineffective. Most counsellors today are active and engaged, using questions, reactions, and interventions to help you move towards your goals. They keep up to date with current research and used various techniques and approaches to guide the client's progress
Myth #4: Counsellor doesn't know me and can’t help me
Truth: Actually, this is one of the most important reasons why counselling can be successful. Since a counsellor is not a part of your day to day life, they are capable of being more impartial with less bias. Oftentimes, family and friends tell you what you should do. Counselling involves a unique relationship where you are encouraged and challenged to find the answers that are right for your life.
Myth #5: Counselling takes forever
Truth: How long will counselling take? How long is a piece of string? The length of counselling depends on the client’s investment in the process, their goals, motivation, and the severity of the problems brought into counselling. Good counsellors are dedicated to helping you meet your goals so you can successfully operate independent of counselling
Myth #6: Counselling will change who I am forever
Truth: Counselling will not require you to make changes you do not like, that you are not ready for, or that go against your beliefs and values. Counselling is designed to facilitate positive change. It is important to keep in mind that you are in charge of the change that you make. If you are unhappy with the changes that are happening, tell your counsellor. Counsellors want to help you change in the ways that feel beneficial to your life
Myth #7 Everyone will know I'm going to see a counsellor
Truth: The only person who will know is you. Counsellors are bound by a very strict code of ethics and confidentiality and every good professional should go over this during your first appointment.