8 myths why people don’t visit a counsellor

India has the highest number of suicides in the world. According to the World Health Organization, of 804,000 suicides recorded worldwide in 2012, 258,000 were in India. Indian youths between 15 and 29 years old kill themselves at a rate of 35.5 deaths per 100,000 — the highest in the world. – New York Times ~2014

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meeta shah, psychologist, counsellor, nmims

Many of us have heard about counselling not working, not helpful. There are many people who call them counsellors including the help desks. Effective Counsellors are those who have a master’s degree in psychology & who have experienced and applies researched based psychotherapies. The best counsellor would be one who has the right attitude and maintain therapeutic bonding with boundaries. Mrs. Meeta Shah, Psychologist & Counsellor and Mr. Joel Gibbs, Assistant Counsellor at NMIMS share facts against eight myths because of which people avoid to consult a counsellor.

MYTH – 1: Counselling is not for normal people.

FACT:  Counsellors also help people/students in everyday issues like relationships, anxiety, sadness, grief, career transitions, traumatic deaths, family conflicts, placement anxiety, all leading to not being able to focus and get feelings of being stuck.

Counselling is collaboratively applying research and reality based psychotherapy to derive desired goals. Counsellors are understanding and not judgmental. Until it is a question of law, death and life they will try their utmost best to maintain confidentiality.

MYTH – 2: What will people think if I seek counseling?

FACT: The first step towards a challenging situation is to be aware of your unhealthy emotions and seeking for help. It takes courage to go against what others think rather than helping or seeking help for self. Learning to be Assertive to seek help is more important.

MYTH – 3: Counsellors will try to put you on medication.

FACT: Psychologist and a counselors hold masters or doctoral degrees in mental health fields and do not prescribe medication. Mind and body are interrelated. Prolonged unattended unhealthy feelings, thoughts, and behavior could lead to a chemical change in long run. At times like this only counselling does not help. Therefore one needs to approach a counsellor and nip the issue before it creates a chemical imbalance.  Therefore Counselors also need to work with psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, and create collaborative treatment plans for clients. Psychiatrists prescribe medication to address biological chemical imbalance, and counselors work with clients to address the psychological cognitive process aspects of mental health. 

MYTH – 4: Seeking counselling is a sign of weakness.

FACT: Seeking counselling enables proactively to learn and manage your problems life time. If you have problems that impair your ability to function day to day, a counsellor can facilitate and develop healthy emotions, thoughts, behavior, leading to better healthy flexible philosophy. Which enhances all the skills learnt.

MYTH – 5: Men should not be emotional.

FACT: Both men and women are social human beings having emotions. Being able to recognize one’s own emotions and perceiving other’s feelings place you above all. Counselling helps you gain emotional intelligence and develops emotional stamina, to tolerate levels of frustrations, failure and sudden blocks. Emotional intelligence attributes one to grow and succeed to be successful future CEO’s

MYTH – 6: Counsellors are not doctors.

FACT: Mental health professionals hold advanced specializing master degrees and study for years under the supervision of an experienced psychotherapist. Counsellors receive many hours of supervised practice before treating clients on their own. Mental health issues are real problems.

MYTH – 7: Counselling is a quick fix for all your problems.

FACT: There are no quick fixes when it comes to mental health. Strengthening your mind through counselling is like strengthening your body through exercise. It takes practice, practice and practice. Each person who enters counselling is a unique individual, so there is no universal formula to determine how long it will be before a client feels better. Being commitment to yourself for betterment by seeking counselling is a way to learn about yourself and your ability to modify your unhelpful belief systems. Counseling is an investment in yourself.

MYTH – 8: If you go to counselling, everyone will know and judge you negatively.

FACT: Going into counseling shows that you are willing to learn about yourself and ways to improve your life. It takes strength to call a counselor to make an appointment. They do not judge their clients — counselors welcome you. Please know that counselors have heard a lot of life stories, and they hold each one with confidentiality and respect. Let us decrease the stigma related to seeking counseling and to create a better world. Seeking counseling is as common as seeking relief from the common cold.