It’s difficult to think about seeing a counselor. We ask ourselves, “Shouldn’t I be able to solve my own problems? Is my problem too small to bother [someone else] with? Is it too big—is there help or hope for it? For me? This is embarrassing! What happens in counseling? How can I know it will help me and not hurt me?”

We may seek counseling when we have difficulty managing our stress, or have a child with behavior problems. Sometimes we seek counseling when we are having problems with sleeping or eating, or when we are feeling depressed or anxious much of the time. We may call when we have experienced overwhelming losses, changes, or are in the midst of life transitions or crises. We may decide we need help when a significant relationship is not working.

No one is eager to call a counselor. When we overcome the stigma and our reluctance, we usually experience a sense of relief and comfort in the simple act of sharing our dilemmas with a caring, unbiased listener. We also find that counseling provides:

Protection—a safe place to bring our concerns and feelings, to speak the unspeakable things in our lives.

Permission—to feel, to think, to speak, to do, to (really) see and hear, to be who we are meant to be, not who others want us to be, and to discover who that is.

Power—support to face hard things, while we learn to activate our own strength.

Possibilities—options when we were afraid there were none.

Pathways—tools to manage our stress, our emotions, and our lives, and training in how to use them.

Most of us feel better after counseling than we did before.1 We understand and accept ourselves and others better; and our relationships become better. We find ways to turn tragedy into triumph; to heal our past and transform our pain. We make changes that improve our lives. We feel and truly are more in charge of our lives. We find that it was worth the risk and the effort, and we are glad we stepped out to get help when we needed it.

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Author's Bio: 

Sharon Barnes, LCSW
3500 South Wadsworth Boulevard
Suite 203
Lakewood, CO 80235

6673 West Chatfield Avenue
Littleton, CO 8128

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