Do it yourself, or with the help of a Counsellor?
Instead of Counselling, people often first try with limited success to find relief on their own. However, the self-help section of the bookstore and Internet searches can only take us so far. And the use of avoidance strategies, distractions and numbing agents, often lead to no resolution and sometimes create even more problems. Although we can obtain lots of valid information from the Internet and books, this information is written for a defined audience and, especially on the `net`, one must always consider the source. A skilled Counsellor with reputable credentials can offer information and strategies based on you as an individual, taking into account your situation, personality, learning style, personal needs, and goals.
Relationships can help us know ourselves better.
We learn the most about ourselves in relationship to others. As infants, we first learn about ourselves in how our caregivers react to and mirror what they see in us, back to us. As adults too, sharing with each other can be an illuminating experience. One of the ways we learn about us is through `reality` testing, by bouncing our ideas off others. Talking about our thoughts and feelings allows us to feel connected, supported and validated. There`s Oxytocin too, a potent neurohormone, which calms and eases stress, when we are near caring people. Through collaboration, the Counselling relationship is a therapeutic alliance empowering change as together we seek, explore and discover more about who you are, most authentically, and what you need to live your own best life.
Getting the support you need, but from whom . . .
Friends and relations may only be able to offer you some assistance or you may not wish to ask them for help. You may feel that your problems `burden` them. You may be concerned that if they are involved somehow, that they may have other agendas and biases, or they may not have the skills or knowledge required to be able to effectively help you as much as you need. Counsellors are trained to safeguard your rights to confidentiality and, because they are not involved in your life, they can better remain objective and unbiased. Feeling safe, accepted, not judged and met with unconditional positive regard creates the foundation for an effective therapeutic alliance and thereby better assures, positive Counselling results.
What about Drug therapy?
Psychotropic medications have been successfully used in conjunction with Counselling to facilitate positive outcomes in those with moderate to severe depression. However, the choice to take medications is a personal one that requires researching your particular concerns and speaking to your physician so that you may make an informed decision. Generally the taking of meds requires experimentation by trying different ones and at different times of the day to see how they suit you best.
Question your doctor if you have any concerns about side effects, the length of time of usage recommended, and, if you are pregnant or lactating or if you are under 23 years of age, if they believe there may any adverse developmental effects.
What does Counselling offer that drug therapy does not?
Unlike Counselling, drugs do not inform people on how to be more resilient, more self-aware, or how to decrease the chance of future bouts of anxiety, depression and stress. Drugs do not deal with the psychological roots of the presenting issues; Without changes, especially in behaviour and thinking, when people discontinue these medications, their former concerns can return.
Over time the benefits of Counselling multiply, while over time of using meds, their potency decreases. Generally, drug dosages must be increased and often drugs and their combinations must be altered to remain effective. Conversely, the benefits of Counselling remain and increase with time.
All in all, it’s your choice to reach out for the help you seek:
Counselling is an accepted and effective method for people, of all walks of life, to get help for their personal concerns. Every one of us gets stuck sometimes. None of us are perfect and none of us have ALL the answers. Recognizing our own limitations, and opening ourselves to new ways of finding solutions and answers, is the beginning to discovering how to live your own best life. It all starts with a single step . . . reaching out for the help you seek.