Going to visit with a counselor for the first time can be scary for most people. Some of the more common concerns are about sharing information with someone you have never met and often have never shared with others. Allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable with a complete stranger could be a concern. How will my story be received? Will I be rejected by this person? Will this be a good match? Will I be able to receive the help that I need and that my partner or spouse needs? Can my child recover from the pain of divorce? Will my obsessive thoughts be understood? I'm so depressed and down, I"m not sure if this person can help me. Will
they think I'm crazy and want to put me in the hospital? Will the counselor take sides and I will feel even more overwhelmed? Is our situation so far gone that even this will not help? Indeed, it does take a lot of courage to go see a counselor. So what's it really like? It should be like being able to sit and visit with a close confidant. someone who is a very good listener. To visit with a counselor is to be able to be heard without condemnation and to be taken seriously without any put-downs or sarcasm. To be accepted for who you are and not for who they would like you to be. Someone who can gently encourage you to make the changes necessary to accomplish your goals and move past where you are now.
It should also include honest confrontaton that cares and once again not condemn. The counselor should be able to offer insights that are honest and well thought out. Most importantly, to respect you and your opinion and to value you as a human being.
Gene Benedict LPC-S