Up until rather recently, seeing a counselor had mostly been reserved for the rich and famous. Only those fortunate enough (movie stars, CEO’s, top athletes) could consult a professional for the tools to escape their problems – while the rest of us had to figure things out on our own. Luckily, the tides have turned and resources to help us regain our equilibrium – and a cherished sense of peace – are plentiful. But how do you know when it’s time to seek professional help?
Here are four signs that seeing a counselor is the right thing to do:
1. You’re experiencing a significant amount of distress. You’ve tried everything you can think of and still can’t find a suitable solution. This can become extremely discouraging and make you begin to doubt if you’ll ever truly be happy. If despair is indeed creeping in on you – it’s time to take action. Solutions and alternative are abundant but they can often be hard to see from our own limited perspective. A counselor can help you to break down some of the walls that are keeping you trapped in a troubled situation. Relief from fear, sadness and anger really could be just a phone call away, so why wait?
2. You find yourself caught in a pattern that keeps repeating itself. This is an indication that there may be some unconscious thoughts at work that need to be uncovered before you can truly break free from their reign. Counselors can offer an objective ear and help you find greater self-awareness, without the confusion that old emotions can stir up. Once the faulty thinking pattern is discovered, counselors can teach you how to challenge it in order to diminish its power. These are tried and true techniques based on years of valid evidence. We know how to handle this, so suffering alone is unnecessary.
3. It always feels like something is missing. Despite doing everything right and achieving all the trappings of success, your life still feels empty, as if a true sense of satisfaction is always just out of arms reach. This one can be confusing, but for me as a counselor, it’s actually one my favorite areas to address. In our success-oriented society, it’s easy to fall into a mode of doing what’s expected of us -rather than follow the unique callings of our souls. A counselor will help you rediscover the bigger picture, rather than simply keep moving from one challenge to the next. It’s remarkably freeing when you once again (we had this as children) begin to tap into your own sense of authenticity. More importantly, it reunites you with your joy.
4. You have persistent relationship difficulties. Humans are social beings. We’re hard-wired to crave a genuine connection with others but when some personal dynamic starts to get in the way of that (and we can all develop blind spots about our own roles in relationships) then a distanced eye can be helpful. Counseling can help you see yourself more clearly, lessen conflict, and learn how to communicate more effectively.
It has always puzzled me how we’ll call someone to fix our homes, cars and appliances – yet allow ourselves to live miserably for years. It doesn’t seem to make sense that we would prioritize things over ourselves rather than see a counselor when we need it. If you can relate to any of these signs, honor yourself by fulfilling your own inner needs and contact a counselor today. It will result in a happier, more satisfying and ultimately productive existence. You deserve it.
Marci Wise, MA, RMHCI, is a motivational author and mental health counselor accepting clients in the Fort Myers/Naples Florida area. Call 239-689-3086 to schedule your free 15-minute consultation or visit marciwise.com for additional resources. Material is free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.