Why You Might Need To Talk To A Counselor
It is probably fair to say that everyone has a basic understanding of why physical healthcare is important. If you have a persistent cough or pain in your knees, you will generally go to a medical doctor and have it checked out. What can be less obvious is that your emotional health is no less vital, and mental issues can be treated by mental health professionals such as counselors or other medical professionals. In fact, virtually everyone experiences some sort of emotional distress at some point in their life, whether this means a bout of insomnia or something more severe, such as clinical depression. Even if the issues you face do not feel severe enough for a clinical mental illness, it might be worth your time to chat with a counselor. At a minimum, this will help you to gain a deeper understanding of what you are experiencing and get the support you need as you deal with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns. In addition to emotional support, as they chat with you, your counselor can be an important resource with information and suggestions on what you can do to feel better.
Reasons to Talk to a Counselor
Even if you think your life experience and natural mental balance are enough to get you through rough patches, it may still be to your advantage to find a professional to talk with. It's not really a question of "can,” but of "can do better." Whether you think that your romantic relationship might be improved, someone you know is struggling with an issue such as addiction or depression, or you are finding yourself a little confused on how to deal with life's challenges, someone with the appropriate training and professional experience can assist you.
Sometimes, people think that counseling is only for those who are severely mentally ill or in crisis, but this is simply not true. People seek counseling for a variety of reasons, from minor to serious. Some people also think counseling is a sign of weakness, but again, if your body is sick or injured, is it weak to get treatment? No. The same is true for seeking help for a mental health issue. There are more options than ever for affordable treatment. You can now chat with a mental health professional from almost anywhere in the world.
You do not have to go through it alone, or for a long time. Remember that counseling has changed since its infancy. The goal of most therapists is to help clients get better as soon as possible. Many therapists practice solution-focused therapy when appropriate, so you will not be in counseling three times a week for years in order to see improvement.
When someone advertises themself as a mental health counselor or psychologist, you can be sure that person has at least a master's degree, along with many other requirements for state licensing, including strict protection of a client's confidentiality. Counselors are are obligated to keep your information private. There are some limitations to this, such as if you are at risk of hurting yourself or someone else, your counselor is obligated to seek action and get you the help you need. These are things your counselor will go over with you at your initial session, and you should ask any questions you have as some laws are state-specific. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask your counselor as you chat with them.
Finding a Counselor
Once a person has decided to seek counseling, it may feel overwhelming trying to find the "right" counselor. Some clients get overwhelmed because they feel the counselor might have to have a certain certification or number of years of experience. These are valid qualities to search for in a counselor, but it is just as important to remember that you may not know until you meet your counselor and start to chat whether they are the right fit for you. Research has shown that more important than certifications and number of years of experience is the rapport and trust between the counselor and client. Carl Rogers calls it "unconditional positive regard" which simply put, means that you feel you can share anything with your therapist. This alone is healing, to have a safe and judgment-free zone, with someone who will listen and offer feedback without judgment and authority.
However, some patients and counselors simply do not connect well enough for effective therapy to take place. This can be for a variety of reasons. Some counselors specialize in one or two mental health fields, or employ a certain therapeutic technique that may not suit everyone. More often, just like with relationships, we do not click with everyone, and you may not click with the first counselor you chat with.
But do not let this overwhelm you, most counselors recognize there is no "one size fits all" approach, and are more eclectic, taking from a variety of theories and therapies. If you have a very specific issue, such as anorexia, you will want to find a therapist with experience working with that disorder. Furthermore, if a therapist primarily works with children, that therapist would not likely be the best fit for marriage therapy. But in general, you can start to chat through phone calls or emails to get a feel for who you feel comfortable with.
Finally, try to not make a final judgment after the first session—the relationship between your therapist and you takes time to build just like any other relationship. You may need to chat with a therapist a few times to figure out whether they’re a good fit.
If you are experiencing any kind of emotional issue, or are close to someone who is, having a chat to a counselor is often a really helpful thing to do. You can learn more about yourself, and how to help yourself; or, if it is a family member or friend struggling, how you can be supportive to them, while still maintaining healthy boundaries. The years of training and education a skilled therapist can offer gives them a unique perspective, and ability to help with the problems of others.
Seeking Counseling Online With BetterHelp
Studies show that online counseling is a secure, effective, and accessible alternative to in-person treatment. According to researchers, there is a treatment gap between the number of people who need mental healthcare and the number who seek or have access to it. Research points to online counseling as a way to bridge that gap, offering therapy that is accessible with only an internet connection—and that is as successful as in-person therapy in managing symptoms associated with a variety of mental health issues. Additionally, an internet-based therapy site can provide more cost-efficiency, security, and anonymity than traditional therapy. As technology advances, it continues to provide more avenues for safe and effective counseling.
As discussed above, internet-based therapy platforms are accessible and efficient methods of providing mental health services. If you are concerned with issues of security or privacy, BetterHelp allows you to receive online therapy completely anonymously. And because there are no pricey offices to maintain or similar expenses, online counseling is often cheaper than traditional therapy. You can get the support you need from a licensed therapist via videoconference, online chat, message, or phone call. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from those who have sought help in the past.
“Great counselor! I have only had a couple sessions with Jason so far but am very surprised by the progress I’ve made already. In each session he has been perfectly respectful, unbiased, punctual, knowledgeable, helpful and kind. Since our last phone session a couple days ago, I have felt a consistent sense of elevated emotional stability, which is a bit of a miracle. I would recommend Jason to anyone and am really excited to keep up this good work that he is guiding me to do and helping me through.”
“I was skeptical about online counseling- and even getting to the point where I thought I might need therapy was challenging in and of itself- but I've had the best experience with Dr. Lechnyr. I'm so thankful for this service and I suggest it to others when it's relevant. Thank you thank you for your work Dr. Lechnyr.”
Commonly asked questions about the subject:
Is it good to talk to a counselor?
Having a chat with a therapist can provide many benefits. Whether you just need someone who will listen to you and provide support, or you’re living with a mental health concern like anxiety or depression, the ability to connect with a therapist can be great for your mental well-being. Therapy has been proven effective for a variety of mental health concerns, including substance use disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and general stress.
You definitely don’t have to have a mental health disorder, however, to benefit from a chat with a counselor. You can chat with a therapist about your relationship, career troubles, or general life concerns. No matter what you’re going through, a chat with a mental health professional can provide numerous benefits.
Where can I talk to someone for free?
If you’re looking for someone to talk to for free, peer support is a great place to start. Peer support can mean anything from talking to your friends and family to having a chat with a co-worker. You can also often find a counselor to talk with through local community organizations or your church or school. Or, consider taking advantage of a site that lets you chat with strangers. Remember that it’s always good to be careful when you’re looking for support from an online chat site though. You can also find helplines and similar services that will allow you to chat with an expert free of charge.
Who can I talk to about my problems?
Many people turn to peer support when they’re experiencing difficult times. While peer support—talking to friends or colleagues—can be great, it can be even more useful to chat with a mental health professional. It is easier than ever to chat with a therapist now with the proliferation of online therapy services. With an online therapy site, communication happens via message, live chat, or phone/video call. Often, you’ll be able to message your therapist outside of sessions, so you can communicate important information at a moment’s notice if you need to. And if you’re in crisis, or a life-threatening situation, consider utilizing a crisis helpline like the SAMHSA Crisis Chat Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.
Can I see a therapist if I'm not depressed?
Mental health services are not only for people who are depressed or in crisis. No matter what you’re going through, you deserve to get the support you need. You can chat with a therapist about mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and addiction, or simply about life challenges. Some people who see a therapist want to talk about their relationships or career goals. You can chat about almost anything with a mental health professional; so, don’t feel like you have to be in crisis or living with depression to chat with, and receive support from, a therapist.