There are many ways to increase health in our lives. Seeing a counsellor can play a unique role in your overall wellness plan. I recently heard someone liken going to counselling both to going to the doctor’s office and to taking a class. Counselling has the unique capacity to help relieve negative symptoms by addressing something that is already going wrong, while bringing in something new to enhance what is already there.
As you consider your options for good health in this new year, here are 4 reasons you should see a counsellor, and 4 more reasons you might want to see a counsellor.
1. Chronic or Recurring Stress, Anxiety or Depression
You are experiencing chronic or recurring stress, anxiety or depression that you are struggling to manage, and it is escalating. These states can become stronger over time. Once they are entrenched it can be very difficult to shift the patterns on your own.
2. Stress Spill Over
You are trying to deal with issues in your life and the stress is starting to spill over into other unrelated areas. Your conflict with your manager at work is starting to come home with you and affect how you talk to your kids at dinner time. The ongoing battle to save your relationship is making it hard for you to concentrate at work and you are worried about your next performance evaluation.
3. You’ve survived an overwhelming event and find it difficult to re-engage.
You have in the past survived, or are surviving, an overwhelming experience and you are finding it difficult to re-engage with your usual life. Experiences that have left a traumatic impact can become a lens that colours all the rest of your life, causing you to put most of your energy into dealing with something that is past instead of engaging with your present and building for the future.
4. People you trust and care about are telling you they are concerned about you.
Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. We don’t notice how stress is affecting us, or how patterns in us are causing distress to others in our life. If you are hearing the same message over and over from different people, it may be time to get help to see above the tree-line.
5. You care about your relationships.
Do you want your marriage to soar? Would you like to be a fantastic parent? Would you like to experience more vitality in friendships? Many relationships stay in maintenance mode and function well enough to keep going. Often we miss opportunities to grow and in turn affect those we care about in positive ways – whether it is helping your teenager develop skills to manage their lives better, to bring your intimate life with your partner to levels of new satisfaction, or to find new areas of challenge and connection with a broader or deeper network of friends.
6. You crave change or challenge.
Would you love to feel like you are thriving in your career? Do you wish you could overcome some fears to try something new? Any change is stressful, even if we see it as a positive thing. Having support to overcome fears, old ways of viewing ourselves, or just finding that next step can help us bring healthy change into our lives.
7. Lighten the load of unnecessary baggage.
Often our view of ourselves and of the world around us is riddled with old stories and memories. We may not even be conscious of how they shape us. It may be an old grudge, a notion that you can’t do something, or patterns in our life that we hang onto just because we’ve “always done it this way”. These entrenched ideas and burdens can weigh us down and prevent us from discovering new aspects of who we can become.
8. You would like your life to have more meaning.
You may be seeking greater cultural understanding of your family and heritage, craving a deeper spiritual aspect to your life, or desiring more passion for what you already engage in. A chance to reflect and ask the difficult and irreverent questions with support can inject your life with purpose and greater satisfaction.
Counselling offers a unique relationship and context where we can get a fuller understanding of ourselves, our important relationships and what changes may help us. Real, positive health is much more than just reduction of stress and negative symptoms. Choosing to enhance health in areas important to you can bring meaningful growth into your life that can affect all aspects of your overall wellness.
Counselling can be a tool to help you build a meaningful, healthy year.
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