Some people know clearly what their problem is. Or they are stressed or not sleeping well or experiencing some other symptom. For others, it can be more of an intangible feeling – a feeling that something just isn’t quite right. You just don’t feel like yourself.
That’s all normal. It isn’t necessary for you to know what is causing these feelings. The discovery of the problem is all part of the therapeutic journey. And your counselor can help you to work out what is really going on and how to rectify it.
What if some parts of your life are really good – should you still get counseling?
Just because some parts of your life like work may be ticking along as normal, it doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t seek help.
If you had a broken ankle, you wouldn’t ignore it just because the rest of your body is fine. It’s the same with our mental health.
Even if you are really grateful for your life and happy with a lot of it, you shouldn’t ignore issues that might be brewing beneath the surface. You don’t have to struggle alone. Stress, anxiety, depression, loss, trauma or any other mental health issue are real and deserve attention. So yes, you should still get counseling.
It could just be that you are being held back by some stigma you may feel about seeing a counselor. But these days even those in high positions realize that they too need help sometimes.
Mental health issues are very common and everyone is realizing the need for more people to receive help for the overall affect it will have on society as a whole. For example, if people don’t sleep well they are less productive at work or they are more likely to cause accidents on the roads. Mental clarity helps everyone and counseling can help in this regard.
Where should you start?
Your counselor will know how to begin each session to ensure its maximum effectiveness. So you don’t need to work out what you are going to say before you have an appointment.
Therapists often take different approaches depending on what they sense the client needs. Sometimes they may ask a few questions or ask you to outline your current life circumstances or ask you to describe how stress is affecting your daily activities. Or they could start by asking you for your family history.
You may be a complete novice when it comes to therapy or even to talking with anyone about your problems, but with time you will get used to it. You might even enjoy it. Like anything new in life, you won’t know unless you try it.
How will I know if it’s helping?
Sometimes people feel an immediate relief just from being able to talk to someone about it. For others, it can take some time.
It’s a bit like going to the gym. Sometimes you feel sweaty and tired afterwards, but in the long term you feel more energetic in your daily life.
It can be like that with therapy. Even if it hurts a little at times – you should still get counseling. It can bring a few things to the surface and there can be some tears or some realizations.
But as you continue the work, you may notice subtle changes in your life like not getting as angry when someone says something unkind – an increase in your resilience and your overall happiness. Or more awareness of your own triggers and the knowledge of how to not be triggered as often.
You may overcome some of the fears you didn’t even know you had or you may shift some dark moods; or you may work through sadness, anger or confusion; and in time, you may feel more calm and contented.
You may find you have the courage to make some big decisions or you may just sleep better. It really depends on what’s going on and what needs to change in your life.
What if I don’t like my counselor?
Your therapist may or may not feel like a friend – someone you would like to share a coffee with. Sometimes that distance can help them to make their work with you even more effective.
As long as they act in a professional way and help you work through your issues, that’s all that really matters.
Sometimes you might feel a little uncomfortable at times. That’s part of the work that needs to be done when you are talking about deeply hidden traumas and so on.
But you should still raise any concerns you may have with your counselor. It is their job to make you feel safe to the do the work you have to do to improve your mental health.
How many sessions will it take?
This is a very difficult question to answer because it depends on the issues that are uncovered as part of the process.
We recommend that you give yourself at least four to six sessions to begin with (if your insurance policy allows) and see how it goes. You can always come back if necessary.
Don’t put it off any longer
If you have a niggling feeling that things aren’t right in your life, don’t put it off – get counseling. Reach out to us at the ABC DuPage Medical Clinic and make an appointment to see a psychiatrist or a counselor at our Oakbrook Terrace IL or Hinsdale IL office.