If you’ve ever wondering this but been too afraid to ask….someone asked me on Instagram, “why is counseling important” and this is what I have to say… most people think only “broken” people go to counseling, but we are living in a broken world and are all in need of healing.
Honestly, I think counseling really has such a bad stigma still and I am on a mission to change that. Counseling (or therapy) really has been such a gift in my life, and my marriage, that I want to always be the friend encouraging you to go.
I’ve been going to counseling on and off for over a decade, and I just want to share a few thoughts and tips with you in case you have been considering going and don’t know where to start.
Don’t overthink your decision to go
You don’t have to have a “major traumatic event” to go talk to someone. Newsflash: we all have trauma of some sort, and it’s actually healing to be able to process it and get tools to move forward. So, let’s throw off that shame we tend to feel. I know it’s tempting to worry about what people might think of us if they knew we were getting help – So first off, you don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
However, I would suggest you allow your inner circle of safe people to walk alongside you as you go through counseling. I have found it very helpful through the years to process with those friends to further understand and process what I’m walking through.
What if you thought about counseling like you thought about your wellness? Instead of waiting until you are sick and bleeding, why don’t you go to visit someone to prevent further “sickness,” pain, or hurt? Setting up routine appointments alone, or with your spouse is a really beautiful thing.
There was a season that one or two Friday mornings a month Stephen and I would have a little “counseling date.” We would go to breakfast together, or go grab coffee then go to meet with our counselor. I’m so grateful for that season that has helped us in so many ways – even just in changing our language from “me/I/mine” to “us/we/our.” This is hard work but it’s so very worth it.
How to find a counselor
First, let me say that it’s not easy to find a good fit. Or rather, you might not find that person on the first try. But, DO NOT GIVE UP! I’ve gone to numerous counselors, and not all of them were a perfect fit. Some were a good fit for a specific season, but not for the long term.
You’ll also need to figure out if you want to go to a male or female. I’ve been to both, but I think it’s mostly a personal preference. My personal counselor is a woman, and our marriage counselor is a male.
Ask around, see if your church has counseling services, or google it and read reviews. I also always love reading the bios to see who I connect with or who specializes in the area I want to pursue growth in.
There are multiple kinds of therapy as well: I’ve mostly always gone to a Christian counselor. I’ve done talk therapy, EMDR therapy, and out of every person I’ve been to I love the counselors who give me tools, exercises, and “homework” to work through on my own as well. Both of my current counselors are trained in Brene Brown’s daring way.
Build into your budget and decide what you are going to be able to commit to. There have been seasons that we booked out counseling once a month for an entire “semester” at a time. Also, you’ll be able to discuss with your provider how often they suggest coming. *Note: some of the counseling offices I’ve been to operate on a “sliding scale” for your income. My insurance has never covered counseling, we always pay out of pocket.
What’s counseling like?
I can’t speak to what it will be like for you, but I can share a little bit of what it’s been like for me. I’ll first say, counseling is probably not what you think it will be like. Yes, you sit on a couch in a dimly lit room, but I’ve never laid down on it. There is a Kleenex box nearby, and sometimes there are tears but it’s not always a super emotional thing. There have been sessions where all we do is celebrate progress, and share the good things that have come since our last session.
To prepare for my session, sometimes I have a list in my phone or journal of what I want to talk about, and sometimes I have no idea until I get in that space and open my mouth. I learned the hard way, that typically on counseling days, I want to make breathing room for rest. Aka, not pack the rest of my day full with activities and to-dos.
I come comfortable, I usually bring water or coffee and I have been known to bring a snack as well.
I also always take a notebook with me so I can write out notes, questions, books to look up, thoughts I want to explore more after the session. There are always some really good nuggets, and I don’t want to forget them!
Something I do after I leave a session is on the drive home I open up the “voice memo” app and I leave myself a voice memo. No one else will listen to it, but it’s my chance to start processing what I learned. It’s really great to get to look back and see my progress and remember what I was dealing with then and how far I’ve come.
When I get home I often make space that day or the next to journal, share with my husband or my safe people what I learned and how I want to move forward. Often there’s a book I want to order, or an exercise I’m going to look up, or some small action step I know I want to take. Also, I’ve found that sharing what I’m learning and walking someone through it with me, helps it to seep down more into who am I. Does that make sense? It’s just like you learn so much more being the teacher than being the student.
Don’t forget to schedule your next visit! I start a note on my phone of things I think I want to talk about in the next session.
If you want to hear my voice as I talk through all of this, I encourage you to listen to this podcast episode with Becky on You Are Free.
Listen to the conversation here.
Hey, I'm Wynne!
Hi, friend! First, I truly am so giddy that you are here. I want you to know I believe in you and all the ways you are growing towards living a more intentional life. I genuinely hope you are encouraged from our time together here.
A little about me, I’m a type 7 on the enneagram, a total extrovert + people lover, entrepreneur, connector, storyteller, people gatherer, and passionate wife, mama + friend. I feel most alive when I’m exploring new places and surrounded by people I love. Give me a day in the outdoors disconnected from wifi, and I am a happy girl. I run on oat milk lattes, Jesus, gratitude journaling and kitchen dance parties with my four kids.
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