Counseling – Seeking Right Help!

“I am not mad, why should I go to a counselor?”. “I will not meet a counselor because I don’t think anybody can understand me.” Absolutely right! Think about it. Think about the situation you are in. Do you feel like people don’t get you? Can you really share your problems with people around you? Do you really have someone who will listen to you patiently? Or would you have to try and open-up to someone you think is a nice person and ask that person to help you?

Let us see what happens when you go to someone who is your close relative or friend. You may feel that your problems `burden` them. In fact, if you talk about your problems too much, they might indeed think that you are a burden. You may be concerned that if they are involved somehow, they may have other agendas and biases, or they may not have the skills or knowledge required to be able to effectively help you as much as you need. They may not keep your issues confidential. There will always be a certain degree of bias, even if you find a listener.
In reality, you learn about yourself in relation to others around you. You compare, rate your status, decide your actions based on your perceptions about the people and situations that you come across. These perceptions are the result of interactions of your brain with your surroundings (people and events), right from the day you were born. The environment you were brought up in, the situations you encountered during various stages of your life, especially adolescence, could have unconsciously influenced you and could be affecting your current behavior. Your reactions to various people and events may surprise you sometimes, as well as others close to you.
When these reactions occur repeatedly, then people around start talking about it among themselves and maybe with you. You may even observe the change in the way people around you behave and speak with you. You may perceive them as being untrustworthy, insensitive, rude, mean, intolerant etc. You may feel that the whole world is against you. Sadness and later depression sets in and everything moves into a space where you no longer know how to handle anything that comes to you. You may no longer like interacting with people or being in places where you may have to interact with them. You may avoid situations which make you uncomfortable. In some cases, a close friend or companion may approach you or take care of you either because he or she has understood your predicament and wants to be with you when you are not able to handle it anymore. This is a good time to ask yourself if you need to connect with somebody more reliable.
Ideally, the first thing to do is to have preliminary discussions and sessions with a Psychological counselor — a person who can conduct prescribed psychological tests — or a Counselor who is trained to identify the difference between people who need special kind of therapy or just psychological support. A counselor basically approaches the issue clearly and rationally and provides initial guidance. The interactions between the counselor and the client is bounded by an ethical code of secrecy, which is decided by mutual agreement and modified as per requirement. Later, if necessary, a Psychotherapist (a person who treats mental disorders by psychological therapies without the use of medicines) or a Psychiatrist (a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and is authorized to prescribe medicines) can come into the picture.
It could help someone in the family who is going through a lot of mental and physical stress and strain because the person is the main care giver of an invalid person or mentally challenged person; if the person could speak to a counselor.
Counselling can help you understand yourself better and the way you think, which will ultimately help you develop a clearer understanding of your problems. It can also help you understand other people’s point of view better, which can shed light on the way you interpret words or actions. The more armed with information you are, the easier it becomes to navigate your way through any difficulties you are facing. Eventually, you can come out on the other side feeling more positive. It is your responsibility to not just seek help but seek the right kind of help so that you can arrive at a suitable solution. Visit a counselor.

Manjula Nair -Family counselor at Bharatiya Stree Shakti (NGO)

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