Common Counseling Myths Debunked

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May! What better time to get educated about mental health than now?

For much of our history, mental health has been a topic people don’t really understand or talk about, allowing myths to spread more easily and stigma to keep people from getting support. That has been changing since the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people are talking about mental health and going to counseling, which is great, but there are still many myths for us to overcome. The following are a few debunked myths about counseling.

Myth: I have to have a problem to go to counseling.

There are many reasons why you may want to work with a counselor, even if you don’t have a “problem.” You may work with a counselor to develop personal and professional skills or to have support during a life transition or to find ways for greater fulfillment and purpose in life. Some even do annual “check-ups” with a counselor to make sure they are taking care of their mental well-being. You don’t necessarily know what you don’t know when it comes to your mental health, and a counselor may be able to help you.

Myth: Counseling can “fix” my problems.

Counseling can help you throughout your mental health journey, but it doesn’t just “fix” your problems. You need to be ready and willing to develop yourself. It takes effort and time to change your behaviors, thoughts, and life direction. While getting started may feel a bit overwhelming, remember that you’re not doing it alone when you have a trained therapist. If you’re feeling unsure about counseling, talking with a counselor can help you determine if you are ready to invest yourself in the process.

Myth: A counselor will tell me what to do.

Along similar lines as the previous myth, a good counselor will not tell you what to do. Their role is to help you in determining the course of action that you would like to take by asking questions and providing insights. While a counselor can help with the process, the decisions you make are ultimately up to what you decide.

Myth: Counseling is basically all the same. If you’ve been to one counselor, you’ve been to them all.

Those who’ve had a negative experience with counseling can sometimes fall into this line of thinking. However, every counselor is unique in their approach to counseling, and each brings their own personality, too. You have to find one who fits with you. You may need to work with a couple of counselors before you find the right one. It’s a good idea to ask your counselor about the style or approaches they use in their practice and how it might look in sessions.

Potential Myth: I’ve never been to counseling, but I’ve heard about it, and it’s just not for me.

First-hand counseling experience is a great way to learn more about what counseling is all about and determine whether it would be helpful for you. With so many myths going around, it can be easy to get a negative impression before giving it a try. Consider contacting your Employee Assistance Program to try counseling for free (and it’s completely confidential). It’s a great low-risk way to access high-quality services and see for yourself what counseling can be for you.

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