Why You Might Need To Talk To A Counselor
By: Sarah Fader
Updated June 10, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin
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 as well as medical professionals if you are determined to benefit from medication. In fact, virtually everyone suffers from 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 talk to a counselor. At a minimum, this will help you to gain a deeper understanding of what you are experiencing and 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 life's 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 severally 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, such as online therapy with BetterHelp. You do not have to suffer 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 himself 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 bound to HIPPA practices which at a simple explanation, means that they are obligated to keep your information confidential. 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.
Finding a Counselor
Once a person has decided to seek counseling, it may feel overwhelming 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 if he or she is 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 and 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 see. 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 with making some phone calls or sending some emails and getting a feel with 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.
There are a number of directories listing places to find help within your area, and online counseling is now available anywhere you can find an internet connection. There are a number of options for talking with your counselor. You can exchange messages, scheduled live chat sessions, as well as video and telephone sessions. It also tends to be much less expensive than face-to-face therapy in an office setting, while allowing you the freedom of choosing from a wide variety of individual counselors possessing a wide variety of backgrounds and skill sets.
If you are suffering from any kind of emotional issue, or are close to someone who is, talking 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 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.
Does talking to a counselor help?
Going to therapy or counseling can help, and many clients end up having a high success rate. The reason why counseling or therapy works is because the counselor or therapist is experienced in human interaction and psychology. They know how to help you handle your problems. The therapist is also objective and can tell you things that are hard to swallow, but they can do it in a way that can help you handle it.
Can I talk to a counselor online for free?
When looking for a therapist or counselor, one of the many counseling options you can choose is online. Online counseling can help many who can't leave their home, and there are ways to get free counseling or affordable therapy. One way affordable therapy and counseling works is that you can have a free trial, which can allow you to decide if online counseling is for you. Usually, the free trial period won't solve your problems, but it's a risk-free way to determine if an online therapist or counselor is for you.
How do I talk to a counselor?
When you go to therapy or counseling, talking to a professional therapist or counselor can be intimidating. If you're someone who doesn't open up to new people, you may find it's difficult to talk to them.
Usually, a counselor helps ease your way into talking to them, first asking basic questions and being an active listener. Think of your counselor as a person you're open with. Imagine your best friend, or your parent.
Online counseling can help with this as well. Some people may open up more if talking to a therapist or counselor involves texting.
Can you get free Counselling?
Counselors and therapists provide free options for those who don't have much money. Depending on what type of health insurance you have, you may be able to get free counseling or therapy.
Other counselors work pro bono, which means they have a free slot open to the public out of service to the community.
You may be able to find free or low-cost counselors at colleges, especially if you're a student.
Finally, churches can offer free counseling services.
What should you not tell a therapist?
With therapy, you should tell your therapist as much as possible, even things that are painful to talk about. A therapist helps you make sense of everything in a place that is safe, and therapists are not allowed to tell anyone what you say to them, with some exceptions.
If you're actively planning to hurt yourself or someone else, the therapist has to tell someone. If you're feeling suicidal, calling a suicide hotline may be another alternative. With that said, you should not hold anything back from your therapist in most cases.
How do you know if you need counseling?
If you feel like you need counseling or therapy services, here are some good reasons to seek them.
- If you have a problem that you can't solve yourself. For example, job counseling can help you if you've tried to apply to every job imaginable and get no bites whatsoever.
- If you have marital, relationships, or familial problems, then marriage counseling or family counseling can help. Even if you feel like nothing you do can repair your relationship, marriage and family therapy is known to turn things around. For example, marriage and family therapy can help you find problems with your communication that you may not have noticed.
- Let's talk more about couples therapy for a second. Couples therapy can be used when you don't have any major problems, but want to prepare for a marriage or have some maintenance done on your relationship to make it even better. Couples therapy can be good for every type of relationship.
- The same applies to family therapy. Family therapists can help families who are struggling financially. Family therapists are good for all family improvements that the family wants to make.
- You feel depressed, anxious, stressed, can't sleep, or you're experiencing another mental health problem. When you have this, there is no shame in speaking to a therapist or counselor.
- If you've moved to a new area or have gone through a significant life change, a counselor can help you with the adjustment period. For example, if you hope to achieve a good social circle in a new area, a counselor can help you open up.
- Finally, if you find yourself looking up more information about therapy and counseling, this may be a sign you need to speak to one.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
Online therapy and counseling can be just as effective as traditional, face-to-face counseling. With video chat, you can get as close to the traditional experience as possible, and future technologies such as advanced VR are guaranteed to make online therapy and counseling sessions even more immersive.
Online counseling is extremely effective for those who want to talk to a therapist or counselor, but cannot do it in person. For example, you may be someone who has a busy schedule, or is unable to leave the house.
What are the 4 types of talk therapies?
There are many types of therapy, and within these types of therapy are even more categories. For example, there are four types of talk therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This is perhaps the most popular type of therapy. Most therapy involves some form of CBT, which explores a patient's habits and thoughts. CBT says that our thoughts or beliefs can influence our behaviors, and vice versa. CBT may help you to regulate your thoughts so they have less of an impact on your problematic behaviors, or it may teach you to be more mindful of your behaviors. With CBT, you need to communicate with your therapist and find out which technique is best for you.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This type of therapy is for those who have borderline personality disorder or who have suicidal thoughts or behaviors. DBT focuses on the therapist and client's relationship. With DBT, it may involve group therapy. With group therapy, you can communicate with other people who are going through the same experiences as you are. The goal of group therapy is to help you find solutions with the help of not just your therapists, but people like you.
Interpersonal therapy, or IP, is a type of therapy that looks at how the client talks to other people. Some interactions with people can lead to psychological issues. With IP, the goal is to teach the client how to adapt to situations. This form of individual therapy can work well on those who have depression.
Family therapy, or family-focused therapy, is a type of therapy and counseling that helps the client improve their family bonds. Sometimes, it may involve individual therapy, where the family therapist talks to you and tells you how you can make the relationships with your family even better. Other times, the family therapist may work with the entire family. Family therapy is most beneficial when it is a group and not individual therapy, as the therapist can see how the family interacts. With family therapy, experienced therapists can take a fully dysfunctional family and make them functional.
How much is Talkspace monthly?
With Talkspace and other online therapy websites, you aren't billed by therapy sessions, but are instead charged weekly, then billed monthly. How much Talkspace costs can depend on how many weeks you have it for, and what plan you use. Plans can cost $49-$79 a week, or $196-$316 a month.
What are the 3 types of therapy?
There are many more than three types, but these types can get you started on your knowledge of what therapists can offer you. These types include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of therapy that involves the relationship between thoughts and behaviors. It is the most common form of therapy. For example, depressive thoughts can make you eat more, and eating more can cause depression. By knowing how your thoughts and behaviors work, you can make the changes you need to.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
Finding solutions to all your problems is important, and SFBT helps the client to find which behaviors are helping them find solutions and which are not. SFBT assumes that everyone can find the solutions to their problems by finding the behaviors that work well for them. It's similar to CBT, but focuses on behaviors more.
This is a type of therapy that involves meditation, accepting what you can't change, living in the present, and being aware of your body. Mindfulness can help you make sense of your emotions, your thoughts, and what's going on in your body. A practice found in many Eastern religions, mindfulness has seen an increase in secular popularity.
How do I open up to a counselor?
It can be hard to open up to a counselor. Here are some ways to help.
- Start small. Usually, that's what a counselor does.
- Write down some questions or statements to make. You don't need to fully prepare for a session, but with a general idea of what you want to talk about, it can allow you to open up a little more.
- Start with text counseling, which online counseling tends to offer. Talking to a stranger through text can be easier for some people.
Does therapy really work?
Yes, therapy works. Most types of therapy have scientific research to back up their claims. Of course, there are various factors that can play into therapy's success. First is the therapist. You need to have a good therapist who will make you feel understood. If you don't like your therapist, find another one.
Also, you need to implement the therapist's advice into your own life. If you don't listen to a therapist, then you may not see results.
How can I get inexpensive counseling?
If you don't have much money, it's possible to get counseling or therapy sessions for a low cost, or even free. Here are a few ways you can do this.
- Talk to a therapist or counselor who has sliding scale payments. Sliding scale payments are when a counselor charges you based on income. If you make less, they charge less, and vice versa.
- Look to universities. University counselors, or people in training, may charge a lot less to the public.
- Some counselors work pro bono, which is when they take on a limited number of clients for free.
- Group counseling may be less expensive due to there being more clients in the room. When finding therapy the involves groups, it's important you talk to a therapist who will give everyone equal treatment.
- Public health clinics, while booked, may have low-cost options available.
- Online counseling can be a more affordable option as well.
- Finally, look to your insurance or your employer. Your insurance could cover some, if not all, of the cost. Meanwhile, your job may offer free counseling. Always talk to HR.
How much is Counselling per hour?
This all depends on what type of counseling you choose, who you're talking to, and various other factors. On average, you may pay around $60-$120 per session. Some may charge more or less. This is something you need to discuss with your therapist before going to the therapist's office and getting a bill you didn't expect.
Does Counselling work for everyone?
It's impossible for something to work for everyone, but with counseling and therapy, it can work for almost everyone. There's no risk in talking to a therapist about your problems that brought you to therapy. If you try the advice given and it works, great. If not, then at least you tried. Besides that, therapy involves trial and error. If one piece of advice didn't work, you may end up discovering that there's another technique that does. With therapy, it's important that you keep attending therapy sessions and you find a good therapist for the job.
Does Counselling work anxiety?
Yes, a counselor can help you with anxiety. Some counselors or therapists practice mindfulness or meditation, two techniques that can help ease your anxiety. A good therapist or counselor will help you with your anxiety by identifying your triggers and giving you ways to help.
In addition, unrelated counselors can help you. For example, a health counselor can help you with exercise and diet, two lifestyles that can decrease your anxiety. A combination of medicine and professional help is usually recommended for moderate anxiety cases.
Is a counselor a therapist?
They can be. The difference between a counselor and a therapist can be a confusing one. Many people may use the terms interchangeably. For some, a counselor is a looser title, while a therapist is a more protected one that requires a license. However, this can vary on state. Some people may use both terms, so the answer to this question is yes.
In the end, the semantics of counselor or therapist shouldn't be that important, and instead the services that both provide are the most important in this case. When choosing a therapist or counselor, look at their credentials.
How many Counselling sessions do I need?
When it comes to therapy or counseling, you're going to need more than one session. That much is guaranteed. The first session is usually to get to know your therapist, tell your problems, and say what There is no magic number of counseling sessions. On average, it could be about 5-6, but you may need more or less. It all depends on what you need to talk to your therapist or counselor about what techniques they're using, and how you apply what you've learned to your life.
Does talking to a counselor help?
Yes, talking to a counselor can help with an issue. For one thing, you’re getting something off your chest to someone who will not judge you and who can offer you legitimate advice. For another, if you follow the advice, you are likely to see differences. A counselor is not a doctor who can give you a pill to treat your illness, but what they can do is give you ways to cope with your problems and offer some guidance. For example, with marriage counseling, the couple can try the communication techniques taught by the therapist.
How do I talk to a counselor?
Some people can find counseling a little bit intimidating, and that’s okay. You’re talking to someone you don’t know about personal problems. Many counselors are trained to get you to open up, but if you’re still having a problem, here are a few things you should do.
- Think about what you want to discuss with the counselor beforehand. You don’t need to write a paper, but scribble a few notes down.
- Ease into it. Talk to your counselor about a few small things, even the weather. The counselor is great at easing you into talking about heavier issues as the session goes on.
- Remember, with the exception of extreme circumstances, such as you being an immediate danger to yourself or to another person, what you say will not leave the counselor’s room. You can talk about your deepest secrets without fear.
Can I talk to a counselor online for free?
If you need to see an online therapist, it’s a little harder to find free therapy. Many online counseling websites and apps won’t accept insurance. However, there are some ways you can get free online therapy.
For one thing, you can usually get a free trial for a week on an online counseling site. This isn’t going to fix your problems, but you can get some advice and decide if therapy online is for you. Another thing you can do is to speak to a traditional therapist and see if they offer video chat settings. It may be easier to get a counselor who accepts insurance or find a counselor who works pro bono.
Is there someone I can talk to about my problems?
No matter what problems you have, there’s someone out there who will talk to you about your problems. One person you can always speak to is a counselor or a therapist. These groups of people are highly empathetic and can help you find solutions to all your problems. However, if you can’t see them, you can find someone online to talk to.
There’s always a message board or forum online that has people who have the same problems as you do. While they are not professionals and can sometimes enable your problem, they can also be people who can give you advice.
How do you know if you need counseling?
If you have to ask yourself if you need counseling, then you probably do need it. However, it can sometimes be hard to tell. Can you solve the problem on your own? If so, you may not need one, but again, this all depends. Here are some signs that you may need counseling.
- You have an issue that has taken over your life. You always think about the issue and you cannot stop thinking about it. It has taken over your life and you may have suffered some side effects from it.
- There’s been a big change in your life. Death of a family member, a move, a new job, the list goes on. Even if it hasn’t seemed to affect you, it can still affect you subtly in many ways.
- You need help with something. If you’re someone who believes that you don’t need help, then you need to get out of that mindset. There is no shame in getting help.
What can a counselor help with?
A counselor can help with virtually any problem you’re faced with. There are counselors for every situation out there, too. For example, if you are considering changing careers, there is a career counselor. School counselors help students of all ages cope with the stresses of education. Mental health counselors help with anyone who has depression or anxiety. If you are having trouble with your spouse, you may go to marriage counseling or couples therapy for help.
The point is that counseling can help with most problems in life. If there isn’t a counselor dedicated to your issue, a general counselor can still help quite a bit. Communicating with someone who shows empathy and gives you guidance can help with any problem.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
Licensed therapists no longer need an office thanks to online therapy, and the help they offer can be just as effective as traditional therapy. Since online therapy uses licensed therapists, it can be effective, and with many ways to communicate with a therapist, it can be even more so in some situations. A person who has problems with face-to-face conversations will be able to talk with a therapist through text or voice chat. While traditional therapy will always have its place, online therapy works well for that as well as people who cannot commit to a schedule.
What are the qualities of good counselor?
Not all counselors are created equal. Some of them have good qualities in abundance, and others may lack them, which is a red flag. Here are some good qualities to expect from a counselor.
- First, a good counselor should be able to communicate with their client. A counselor is typically diverse with how they communicate, and they can speak to even the most standoffish clients. Bad counselors will not communicate much or may talk over their clients.
- A counselor needs to show empathy towards their client at all times. Even if the client is doing something the counselor disagrees with, being as empathetic as possible is a sign that the counselor can put aside any differences for the better of the client.
- A good counselor or licensed therapist will come up with solutions to the problems the client faces. Should those solutions not work, the counselor will help the client to figure out what went wrong and try to help them find a better solution.
- Counselors who are easily flexible are good. A counselor needs to adapt to the client’s ever-changing world, possibly schedule, and needs to be there for the client as soon as possible.
- Good counselors can work with people of different cultures, sexual orientations and gender identities, and other walks of life. People are diverse, and a counselor needs to have as diverse communication as possible.