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EDUCATION - KEY TOPIC

Preparing for Change

Everyone Needs a Counselor: Appreciating the Value of Therapy

Counseling and therapy can be wonderful tools that help us explore how we want to experience more in life. In fact, one in four Americans have sought professional counseling. Most styles of counseling focus on re-understanding one’s past or present in a way that promotes healthier handling of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Therapy could directly link to an unhealthy behavior or context, or it may target seemingly unrelated root issues. Re-understanding ourselves and our past, present, and potential future can have a powerful impact on our day-to-day lives. Look for trust and connection in counseling relationships.

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There’s No Shame

Seeking help via counseling or therapy does not have to be scary or intimidating. One in four Americans have sought professional help from a counselor or therapist for issues in their life. Given that fact, the odds are that each of us know many people who have (or are currently seeking) a therapist.

Many of us may already share aspects of our lives with a de-facto counselor — a hairdresser, bartender, coach, or trusted friend. However, we can increase our ability to heal and grow through the opportunities a professional counselor or therapist provides given their past experience and training. Whether it is for depression, an eating disorder, an addiction, or other mental health challenge, seeing a counselor or therapist is a great place to start the journey to wholeness.

Connection Is Crucial in Therapy

If you’ve tried counseling or therapy in the past and there wasn’t a good connection — or if that happens in the future — Don’t give up. Keep looking for a counselor you trust and respect. The right counselor for you is out there. Try to complete multiple sessions before making a final decision. Like any relationship, it takes time for trust to grow.

Navigating Past, Present, and Future

Like treatment centers, counseling methods and therapy types vary greatly in their style, methodology, and delivery. At the core of most is a focus on re-understanding our pasts and present in a way that brings healthier, life-giving experiences.

What we have experienced throughout life, and particularly in our childhood, can profoundly impact how we see and experience ourselves, our relationships, and our world. For instance, research indicates that adverse childhood experiences are associated with lower-levels of satisfaction and mental well-being in adults. Childhood trauma does not have to involve a seemingly “major” event for it to profoundly shape our understandings of ourselves and the world. Disconnection or emotional distance during crucial developmental times can have a lasting impact.

The point is, that while current issues or problems that we face may feel like isolated incidents, they may be related to events in our childhood that cause us to view our present circumstances through an skewed lens. A counselor can help us find new lenses so that we can see the world with clarity and health.

Counseling provides great information on how the past and present may be affecting our life experience. It sheds light on areas where new perspectives and understanding can provide opportunities for healing and fruitfulness.

The goal of most types of counseling is not primarily to go back to the past to identify sources of blame or justify current behavior. Having a trusted, trained professional provide an outside perspective is important because of how distorted our own understanding may be. Blame and bitterness are not helpful tools, but looking back with professional help can unlock forgiveness and your ability to move forward. This does not deny your loss, but it does halt the ability of that loss from continuing to rob you of a full, healthy life.  

Different Forms of Therapy

There are many different approaches to therapy. Some may work better for us than others. This is not a comprehensive list of therapy practices or methodologies, but a high-level overview of some of the leading approaches.

Worried about finding counseling resources that you can afford?

There are a range of new models for delivery of counseling resources. Check out OneStep’s Connection tab focused on counselors or therapists to find one in your area. Additionally, some insurance covers counseling services. Check with your provider for details and see our five tips for finding affordable resources.

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