Is something wrong with me?
Do I have to live this way for the rest of my life?
As therapists, these are some questions we are asked when people begin the counseling process. These questions come from clients who are in a frightened, hurtful, mistrusting and weary place.
We all live so long trying to keep going,
pretending all is well,
holding it in...
......until...... we can't any more.
We don't know when that day will come, but it surely does.
What used to work to help us cope, no longer works, and we feel betrayed by those protectors and defenses -
revealing the realization of just how ill-equipped we are for dealing with what we have tried to avoid for so long. We feel weak and inadequate, unsure of how to live life differently. So, we keep doing all that we know to do --- and we go around the same mountain over and over again for years.
Many people are curious about counseling, but less are brave enough to inquire about it. And, even less will actually takes the necessary steps to reach out and call for an appointment.
Why do you think that is so?
Reasons why people don't reach out for counseling:
1) There is a stigma against going to therapy. When you tell people (and, many people don't dare tell others) you are going to therapy, the response in body language or facial expression or an awkward sentiment of, "Oh......." follows. From those responses or silences, you don't have a quick reply for your defense.
2) The personal beliefs,
"I am weak."
"Something is wrong with me."
"I am crazy."
keep you fearful of perhaps having those false beliefs verified.
3) The familiarity of the known can influence us to not change anything, because the unknown seems much more overwhelming.
I used to remember thinking, myself, "At least I know what to expect here."
In that "comfortable misery" place, I call it, we aren't able to imagine a better situation or feeling, so we safeguard ourselves from it becoming worse.
4) It is the first time people tell their stories and hear themselves say out loud what has happened to them or what they have done.
Shame keeps us from speaking out loud and putting words to our experiences.
We keep the secret for as long as we can and, believing if no one else knows,
or it didn't really happen.
Or, we keep the secret for fear that we will be blamed or judged, because, after all, we have blamed and judged ourselves for so long, it would be unbearable to carry that judgement from others, too.
We recognize and validate the courage it takes to consider reaching out for professional help.
We want you to know that there is a better way to go through life instead of just making it through each day. It.is.possible to heal from past wounding and live a life of joy and peace.
There are many benefits to counseling.
We join you where you are in a non-judgmental, empathetic, supportive manner and partner with you toward hope and healing along the way with encouragement, respect, and wise guidance.
The length of time we work together in the counseling process depends upon:
* what is currently going on in your life that is causing distress
* what has happened in the past that continues to haunt you in the present
* the degree to which it has impacted your ability to live a fulfilled life
It can take from 2 months to 2 years, sometimes longer. We walk with you during the process. You are no longer alone to deal with the pain. There will be moments when we walk alongside you, in front of you, or behind you. And, then there will be moments when we'll just sit with you, where you are, until you are ready to move again. You set the pace. You will not be pushed or pressured to move where we want you to go. We'll get there...safely.
We want you to know that there is hope and healing and a different way to live. We can show you how. Whenever you are ready, we are here. You'll get there in your own time. The first step is the hardest, most courageous step out of where you are to where you desire to be.
You are strong and brave enough.
How do we know that?
Because you have made it this far, haven't you? The worst is over, actually. And you did the best you could at the time with what you knew to do. You survived!
We cannot apply knowledge learned from those experiences to the younger version of ourselves and criticize or condemn or blame him/her, "You are so stupid. How could you? Why didn't you ________________?"
When looking back, it is necessary to offer ourselves grace.
We help you learn how to do that by modeling grace for you.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9