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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Counseling is a form of therapy where you talk to a mental health professional about what’s going on in your life. You might work on pain, stagnation, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, trauma, or more. You can talk to a counselor about a wide range of mental health issues or general life issues, such as a transitional time that you are going through. Counseling isn’t just for “crazy” people. That stigma needs to be retired. When you see a counselor or therapist, you are merely taking care of yourself and your mental health. There’s nothing wrong with confronting problems that are causing you pain. There is everything right with it! It’s important to remember that counseling can help you navigate a wide variety of the issues and it’s not just for individuals. If you attend counseling with your partner, it might help you to heal the issues that occur in your relationship, communicate better, and understand each other more. It could even save the relationship. Additionally, if you are determined to separate from someone peacefully, seeing a couples counselor can help you accomplish that.
Forms of Counseling
There are many different forms of counseling, such as individual counseling, career counseling, couples counseling, and more. Depending on your needs, you can determine what kind of counseling works for you. If you live with a mental illness, attending counseling can be extremely helpful. For example, people that have recurring panic attacks may not know how to handle what they are experiencing. That would be a great topic to bring up with a counselor, because they can help you develop coping skills and prevention techniques for the panic attacks. People who are struggling with other mental illnesses, such as Depression, can also benefit from counseling. Everyone needs help sometimes. Going to therapy means that you are taking control of your life and mental health.
Myths About Counseling
Some people believe that you can become dependent on a counselor or therapist. That isn’t accurate. A counselor is there to help you when you are transitioning from one part of your life to the next. Maybe, you are getting divorced, and need help and support throughout the process. You don’t need to feel bad for seeking help for yourself. It’s important to remember that everyone needs to take care of their mental health. It’s about taking your struggles into your own hands and feeling empowered. Counseling is for people to who need help in a particular area of their life and are strong enough to seek out answers. Regarding getting “addicted to” or “dependent on” a therapist, the goal of counseling is to get a person to the point that they can manage their issues on their own. A counselor is a teacher.
What You Learn in Counseling
In counseling, you learn to identify the issues that you are struggling with and manage them using coping skills. Depending on what you’re struggling with - whether it’s trauma, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, psychosis, relationship troubles, mania, confusion about school, or anything else - a counselor can help you. You need to be honest about what you’re dealing with to have the best counseling experience. If you are not honest with mental health professionals, they can’t help you. If you communicate openly, they will be there to help you with what you are going through. Counseling is a safe space, and your therapist is there to guide you through it.
Online counseling is an excellent option for those who are busy and can’t make the time to visit a local therapists office. You can see an online counselor in the privacy of your own home, workspace, and more. It is a convenient option with a ton of benefits. Search the database of experienced mental health professionals at BetterHelp and find the counselor that is right for you.
Is there free couples counseling?
Free counseling is available as needed. More and more couples are seeking out free couples therapy to help get through some of the issues plaguing their relationship. From relationship issues that they’ve tried to figure out before, to free marriage counseling to help with some of their rocky aspects, free couples counseling is an excellent place to start.
Usually, a free consultation can help determine the situation and the right steps to take to rectify these issues.
What to do when you can't afford couples therapy?
Many who can’t afford traditional counseling will look for free marriage counseling. Sites like 7 cups of tea offer answers to many of the questions that are out there.
Usually, if you want more in-depth couples therapy, you’ll have to seek out a paid service.
Free counseling is a good place to begin, for the sole reason that it will offer introductory resources to help you. You can get free relationship counseling, but most of the time it isn’t with a licensed counselor. In contrast, a subscription-based relationship counseling offers you an alternative. You can meet with a licensed counselor in order to help you sort out the problem. In many cases, a paid counselor is better because they have more training and experience helping people in your situation.
How do you pay for counseling?
Most of the time, you’ll have to pay out of pocket. But, if your insurance covers couples counseling, then you can see if they’ll accept your provider. BetterHelp does accept some insurance, so you can always see if you can get marriage counseling from them.
There are many different options, and you can seek them out. BetterHelp offers free consultation sessions and even coupons in order to get started, so if you’re really stumped on where to go, this is a great way to begin.
Do marriage counselors take sides?
Marriage counselors don’t take sides and they aren’t referees. They are unbiased in their judgement of your situation and are there to help. Their objective stance on your relationship helps you to understand what each of you can do to change the current situation. Another term for this type of therapy is, Systemic Therapy. Systemic therapist look at the relationship as a whole and help you decide how to fix the system-not the individuals.
Do marriage counselors ever suggest divorce?
Divorce is always the last resort for a marriage therapist. After all, they got into the profession as a way to help people heal their relationships. Many times communication skills and behaviors have become dysfunctional. They can help you resolve these issues and find common ground.
In abusive relationships, they may suggest that the victim move away from the abuser. Fixing the relationship is the goal, but safety is the first priority. No one should stay in a relationship where they are physically or emotionally at risk. If the relationship is too far gone, sometimes the result of couples therapy is divorce.
How do you fix a relationship?
That really depends on the situation. Marriage counseling and couples therapy is a good place to begin. But it’s going to take more than that. First, you and your partner need to agree that there is a problem, and that you want to change in order to fix it.
Take what your counselor tells you during your appointments to heart. If you have issues with communication, work on communicating. If sometimes you feel like the spark isn’t there, you should try working on bringing that spark back.
When it comes to fixing relationships, you have to work at it. Your spouse has to as well. It’s a two-way street, and while most people know this, sometimes it’s a hard pill to swallow. When it comes to fixing a relationship, working on communication, trust, and expressing your feelings to your partner is very important. It’s only then when you start to do this that you really benefit.
No matter how much therapy you get, no matter how long you sit in a counseling office, if you’re not ready to change, you’ll continue to have issues.
How often should you go to therapy?
It depends; how much do you need it?
Do you have a temporary issue that you need to work out with a counselor? Usually, once a week for a little bit works. But, if the issue is significant, you might need more. A good therapist can help you understand when the therapy is “over.” Their goal is to get you to the point where you can help heal yourself without them. Often people will see a therapist for a while and then return later.
For some people, they might not need weekly sessions. If you are doing okay, just going every couple weeks can be good enough.
Are therapy sessions private?
Therapy sessions are to 100% private between you and the therapist. The only reasons a therapist will ever break confidentiality is because of an active threat against yourself or another person. Privacy is at the core of any therapeutic relationship. No matter what you say, it’s always kept private. One of the great things about online counseling is that no one sees you coming or going from a therapist’s office. You can’t run into anyone in the waiting room. In many ways, online counseling is even more private than an in person office visit.
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