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Mental Health Counseling – Overview
If life was a house, then mental health counseling would be like opening the doors of rooms of the house which you have purposefully closed, either completely or partially and you want to open those rooms but you are unable to. While trying to opening these doors, you have a guide with you, which is your counselor who may help you in finding the key to open the room, help you understand why the door got closed in the first place and they may also help you clean the mess that is caused because the room was closed for so long, helping you get in some sunshine into it and fresh air too!
Many times, we knowingly or unknowingly we get stuck in thoughts or feelings which are unpleasant and distressing which makes us indulge into unpleasant behaviors. And the loop goes on and you may find it hard to stop it. This is where mental health counseling will help you- in understanding why things are happening in certain way and what can you do to get your desired outcome.
Benefits of Counselling for Mental Health:
Mental health counseling isn’t only for someone who has a mental health disorder, but for anyone who has concern about their mental health and/or are not able to cope with any challenges in life, no matter how big or small they are.
No matter what is happening in life, having a direction to it helps us deal with 50% of the issues and the feelings that come up because of certain people or situations, and getting that through counseling is the biggest benefit that anyone can get.
All in all, mental health counseling has plenty of benefits because mental health counseling –
1. Leads to self-discovery:
Sometimes being in counseling sessions is like having a Eureka moment because clients suddenly understand the meaning of why they do a particular thing and what is their core that makes them a unique individual!
If we analyze, after some point or other counseling narrows down to the ‘self’ part, that is knowing what your true self is and how can you do a particular thing if it is in your control to make the situation better. Hence, counseling is the best therapy when you have any issues related to self: self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth and so on.
Mental health counseling takes you on a journey of discovering yourself, increasing your self-awareness which helps you in understanding your own thought patterns, your emotional triggers and your own unhelpful behaviors which could have been hurting you. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you get to know yourself in a better way? To know your triggers and what led to them in the first place? It would be so easy to then deal with any situation or person once you understand your patterns! And counseling helps you in achieving that.
2. Develops Confidence, Hope, and Encouragement:
Ups and downs are part of life. There are situations when life knocks you down, you fall down, but then you stand up and face whatever comes your way. But the problem starts when you are unable to get up, when you choose to stay down losing all the hopes you have had. And that does happen when you are so passionate about a particular thing and you see that thing going away from you. At such times, it is quite natural to lose your confidence and hope. But what to do then? Stay like that for a long time or take a step to see if there is any other way to get up and face the hurdles?
Usually when clients come in for low confidence related issues, it is because their trust on themselves and the future has diminished. Their faith on their abilities, capabilities, beliefs start fading away and the reason could be a single event or multiple events in which the end result was where they started doubting themselves. There could be multiple reasons for low confidence issues- low marks in examination, not getting into a particular university after trying for multiple times, a romantic relationship breakup, not finding a good job, no growth in career and so on. And all this may lead to feelings of hopelessness and discouragement.
But how would counseling help if someone is actually not getting the success even after trying so hard and the situation is completely rational? Perspective comes into picture here. Most of the times, we humans tend to pin our success on just one particular thing or situation, if that doesn’t happen, we may feel that we have hit a dead end. But what we forget is there are more choices out there. That is, if one road didn’t work out for you that doesn’t necessarily mean you must have hit a dead end, that could mean that there is another road, one which you never thought about, which can take us to the destination. Helping clients find these roads which will take them to develop confidence in themselves, hope and encouragement is what takes place in counseling sessions.
3. Helps in The Management of Emotions:
When it comes to the management of emotions, there is no one size fits all. Although it seems pretty straight-forward, the way you go about managing your emotions can vary depending on your own internal compass and how you were raised. Emotions are a part of our everyday life, be it pleasant emotions such as happiness, joy, hope or unpleasant emotions such as sadness, grief, boredom. Both pleasant and unpleasant emotions are necessary for us to experience because that is what makes us humans! But when they get out of control and no longer help us in whatever we need them to do it’s called Emotional Imbalance.
Counseling helps you in understanding what are the triggers that make you experience extreme unpleasant emotions and how you can effectively manage those emotions in a way that your emotions do not make you react to a particular statement given by others, but where you can calmly respond to that statement.
4. Contributes to Self-acceptance:
Self-acceptance is the practice of accepting your own self, your identity including all your positive and negative traits and behaviors. Self-acceptance is a journey, something that you do for yourself. Accepting yourself allows you find your strengths rather than using shortcomings as excuses.
We are all human beings. And as Eric Wilson has quoted ‘To be human is to be beautifully flawed’. We all have some qualities that are considered ‘good’ by the society and some that are considered ‘bad’. But instead of getting into good and bad, why not put them as strengths and weakness? Self-acceptance helps us on focusing more on our strengths, making them better rather than mulling over our weaknesses.
Acceptance makes good sense if you consider the fact that we’re constantly being judged by others and by ourselves. Have there been times in your life where you did something against your will just to please someone else to get their acceptance? Then why not please yourself by respecting your own needs and accepting yourself as you are? Sure, it isn’t easy to get on that path, but it is worth a try and counseling makes that journey a little less bumpy.
5. Gives Your Point of View a Direction:
It’s hard to accept that you may have issues in your life. It can seem like a burden, and nobody wants to hear that they have problems and could ask for help. But when we do counseling, our problems become a way for us to have compassion for ourselves. We learn how to cope with problems better, and we realize that the problems aren’t the end all be all of our lives. They’re just parts of our lives that we need to work through.
We all view the world from our own unique lenses which is our own point of view. Counseling gives your point of view a direction. In other words, when you talk with the counselor and you open yourself up, you get a better understanding on what’s going on in your life.
6. Provides Mental Peace:
We live in such a fast-paced world. A world in which eating lunch or dinner in peace could in itself be a task. Our routines are planned, meeting friends is also added to the calendar because we need a reminder, there’s a time given to do the laundry. In such a chaotic world, where does one find mental peace naturally and easily? The peace where you are with yourself and are enjoying your company or the peace of mind to the extent that even if things go downhill, you stay unaffected. It’s difficult, isn’t it? Well, it may sound difficult but it is completely doable.
In today’s world, stress has taken over the mental peace, and that is unarguably the reality. But to go ahead in life, one needs clarity of where they are and where they’d like to go. And mental peace helps us in getting this clarity. Mental peace is a great feeling where you can think about things and have a mind that’s not burdened by whatever you’re worrying about. It’s like total mental relief, and it’s something that every person needs at some point in their lives.
Of course, there are self-care practices that you can participate in, but if the root cause for your stress is deeply rooted and is stopping your from feeling that mental peace, then counseling is going to help you in unwinding and finding that mental peace!
7. Improves Your Skills:
We all start building skills from our childhood. It could be skill of holding a pencil the correct way for good handwriting, skills for socializing with peers in school, skill of learning different languages and so on. Building skills is important for our growth. Just like other skills, building and improving skills for our mental health is equally important.
Through counseling, one can easily improve their communication skills which can help in improving personal and professional relationships. Counseling can help in understanding how to reflect on a certain point and how to put forth your point. Along with communication, counseling also helps students to improve their study skills through various models and activities.
Counselor also help their clients to build different skills to cope with different stressors which they may be facing in their life. In all, counseling doesn’t just help in building certain life skills but also helps in improving them over time.
8. Helps in Improving Lifestyle:
The current lifestyle of everyone around us, including ourselves, is somewhat hectic. While being busy is alright, but at the same time having a healthy lifestyle is equally important. When I say healthy lifestyle, that doesn’t only mean being physically healthy, but also means to have a balanced and healthy mental health. Our body and our mind are connected. If one of the two is not functioning well, then it will surely affect the other. That’s why to have a healthy lifestyle it is important to have a healthy physical health and mental health.
Stress is one of the leading reasons for the decrease in quality of life. Counseling helps in improving lifestyle by providing an avenue to explore different areas of life which may be causing stress. After knowing the areas of life which are causing stress, the counselor may then guide the client to understand what they can do to release the stress and apply the learning of dealing with stress that they got through counseling.
Counseling also helps people in having physically healthy life. Have you had problems with waking up in the morning when your alarm goes off? Do you decide that you’ll workout from next week but that week doesn’t seem to arrive anytime? Has it ever happened that you decided to follow a certain diet but that went on only till a month? Counseling helps with all such issues and the mental states which are taking you away from having a physically healthy life. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to wake up early in morning, exercise, follow diet and follow other things that you have been wanting to with positive and pleasant feelings?
9. Gives Insight to Problems:
A lot of times what we think is causing us pain or hurt is actually the surface of the problem. The actual reason could be something else which could be deeply rooted. Counseling can help individuals understand what the root cause of the problems is and then it helps the individuals to gain insight to their problems and find solutions. By talking to a counselor, people can explore their feelings and thoughts, learn how to cope with difficult situations, and get support when they need it.
Counseling provides a safe and a non-judgmental space for individuals to talk and express themselves. Just talking about thoughts and feelings without any filter, without thinking what the other person may think, in a completely free way can in itself help the client to learn about their problems. With some guidance from the counselor, the client themselves will understand what the solutions to their problems could be. Counseling can help people to understand why they feel the way they do, and the counselor can then help them to develop strategies for dealing with their problems.
10. Contributes in Coming Over from Drugs and Alcohol:
Counseling helps an individual to cut down or recover from drugs, alcohol or other addictive behaviors. When is the behavior termed as addiction when it comes to alcohol or drug? It is when alcohol/drugs are consumed in larger amounts for a longer period of time and the efforts of cutting it down has always been unsuccessful. When the craving is intense and there are extreme behaviors to obtain the alcohol or drugs. When consumption of it leads to failure of fulfilling a role in personal or professional life. Continuous use of alcohol or drugs despite social or interpersonal problems that are caused as a result of consumption. Recurrent alcohol or drug consumption in situations in which it is physically hazardous and knowing the repercussions that it will cause.
Counseling is a vital part of the rehabilitation process for those struggling with drugs and alcohol. It can help individuals come to terms with their addiction, learn how to cope with cravings, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Counseling also provides support and guidance for loved ones, the family members, who are affected by the addiction. Along with medical treatment, mental health counseling also helps for withdrawal symptoms. Drug and alcohol counseling can make a huge difference in the lives of those struggling with addiction and helps them get on the road to recovery.
11. Helps in Dealing with Negative Emotions:
Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, stress can open a lot of space in mind to negative thinking which starts going around in loop. It reaches to a point where one doesn’t even have to consciously think ‘what if this causes a negative effect?’ because till then the mind has already accepted that everything is going to be negative or unpleasant from now on. These negative thoughts open the gates for negative or unpleasant emotions. All this can be so overwhelming that one cannot see even a tiny hope of feeling pleasant or positive.
Counseling is a great way to deal with negative emotions. When we are feeling down, it can be helpful to talk to someone who understands what we are going through. Counseling provides a safe place for you to express your feelings and get support from a professional. Counseling also provides support and guidance as you move forward.
It is important to seek counseling if you are experiencing a lot of negative emotions, because if left untreated, these feelings can cause long-term damage.
The Bottom Line:
It is extremely important to know when to pursue counseling and then taking the next important step of actually going for it instead of denying its need. Mental health counseling can provide a number of benefits to those who pursue it. It helps one in dealing with the problems rationally, accepting oneself the way they are, to unburden all the things that are proving to be heavy, to improve quality of life, to deal with mental health illnesses and most importantly to live a happy and resilient life.
But at the same time, if you want to experience these benefits, then it is your responsibility to make sure that you are continuing the sessions and doing whatever your counselor asks you to do, in session or outside the session as homework. It isn’t just your counselor’s responsibility to make the counseling journey fruitful for you, but you will also have to put in your 100% to see the results!
Counseling is a beautiful and an eye-opening process. At every stage you may discover something important about yourself which you may find surprising, sometimes you may relive a happy moment which was almost shut down in your memory. So, no matter what, you will definitely take a learning or two from your counseling sessions!
Looking For Mental Health Counseling Services?
Are you someone who has been wanting to start the journey of mental wellbeing by starting mental health counseling? Are you looking for a mental health counselor who can be the right fit for you? Finding the right mental health counselor can be very exhausting. Searching online, validating their credentials could be a lot. So, to save you the trouble, here’s a very easy way of finding the right counselor
WAITT has been catering to the community’s mental health since quite some time now and as a part of it has onboarded experienced, knowledgeable and skilled mental health practitioners who have their own niche in which they work and a very unique way of dealing with various clients. So, if you are someone who is looking for a mental health counselor, then your search may end right here. All you have to do is go on to- https://www.supportoursafety.com/therapy/ have a look at the counselor’s specialty areas and book an appointment with the one that you feel is the right fit!
Go on, and take that step because no matter what, we are in this together!