I started talking to Brittany, a licensed counselor, because I needed help navigating a specific situation in my life. I wasn’t aware of all the benefits of counseling; all I knew was that I needed help.
Having reached a point of desperation, I bombarded her with the details the second we met – raw, unfiltered, brutally honest details. Then I waited on pins and needles to see how she’d respond.
Was I a terrible person? Was my situation too far gone? Would she be able to help me at all?!
To my relief, Brittany immediately made me feel heard and understood. Then she started asking questions, digging deeper, asking me to reflect on thoughts that hadn’t really occurred to me.
She helped me to nail down my own priorities and learn how to set boundaries to protect them. She shed light on why I act the way I do, why others act the way they do, and how we can all communicate more effectively with just a little more mindfulness of those facts.
Brittany didn’t just help me work through a specific issue, she helped to transform the dialogue in my head for the better. See, the benefits of counseling reach far beyond what you think you’re seeking counseling for.
Finds Solutions to Problems
Of course, counseling can help you find solutions to specific problems. That’s why I initially sought counseling and was the first thing I took away from it.
With years of education and experience under her belt, Brittany offered practical solutions to my situation. She introduced new communication concepts and coping techniques I had never heard of or tried before. And after I had put them to use, she acted as a sounding board, asking questions about the interaction and helping me to rework and execute it even better the next time.
Offers an Impartial, Third-Party Point of View
It is nearly impossible to obtain impartial, truly fair feedback from your family or friends. Why? They know you. They love you. It’s fair to assume they probably favor you over any other person in dispute.
So you might find yourself surrounded by people who tell you what you want to hear, rather than what you need to hear. They’re just doing what they’re supposed to do – build you up, support you!
But a licensed counselor doesn’t know you personally, at least not at first. And they don’t know your spouse or parent or friend or whoever else you’re discussing with them. They weren’t at your last family get-together where everyone picked sides.
Brittany built me up, yes. She offered the reassurance and pats on the back I was desperate to receive.
But she also provided a kind and very insightful perspective that I hadn’t considered. She suggested where I might have gone wrong, where I could improve. She was able to view my situation without bias and help me to decrease my own bias in the process.
Provides a (Constructive!) Dumping Ground for Negative Emotions
Sometimes I’m thoughtful and articulate when I describe a situation to Brittany. But once in a while, I just dump it on her.
I say what’s in my head without filtering my words or worrying about how the message will be received. Because sometimes…you just need to vent!
After all, if I tell my friend in the heat of the moment I think they’re a self-centered jerk, I’ll just hurt their feelings and make it more difficult to restore our relationship later. If I tell Brittany my friend is a self-centered jerk, it will help me to air out those powerful, negative emotions, rebuild them into a more constructive message, and preserve my relationship with my friend.
Heck, I’ve even vented to Brittany over silly things I would have otherwise kept to myself. It’s insanely helpful to establish a venting delegate who’s equipped to help you redirect all of those negative emotions into something more positive. Plus, it saves your family and friends from the back-breaking work of fielding a constant stream of complaints.
Improves Your Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Perhaps the biggest benefit of counseling was that it helped me to nail down my true feelings into words and communicate them as effectively as possible. Because I realized that no matter how sincere or important my message, it would never be received if my delivery was all wrong.
It also helped me to better understand others in my life…my spouse, my parents, my child, my friends and coworkers, and more…and frankly, feel more compassion and understanding for them.
Before talking with Brittany about a situation, I could only see it from my point of view. After talking with her, I could see their point of view as well, and acknowledge the validity of both our views.
The more I talked through those situations with Brittany, the more I could see their point of view all on my own. And it made every relationship feel more respectful, loving, and harmonious.
Improves Your Problem-Solving Skills
When I first started talking to Brittany, I would just dump my issues on her and wait for her response. But as she walked me through each situation, I began to recognize and subconsciously memorize the path we traveled to resolution.
Where once I was overwhelmed and defeated by my negative emotions, I began to follow the steps to resolution all on my own. It’s almost as if I could hear our past sessions in my head, prodding me to broaden my view, to dig to the root of the issue, to ask myself what success looked like and how to get there. It wasn’t an area I was planning to improve, but it’s aided me tremendously at home, at work, and everywhere else I go.
Improves Every Area of Your Life
Again, I thought I was seeing Brittany to help me work through a specific situation I was facing. But within the first month or two, we had somehow managed to talk about how to set boundaries with others, how to communicate more effectively, how to delegate my time and energy to my highest priorities and pull back in other areas, how to make time for better health, and more.
I asked questions I never knew I had. I realized how every area of my life connected with and affected all of the other areas. The benefits of counseling will touch every part of your life.
Helps You View Yourself, Others, and the World Differently
I realized after just a few months that we can choose how we view ourselves, how we view others, and how we view the world. Brittany opened my eyes to the view I had chosen at the time, then suggested a better way.
The better view could more easily recognize and change self-defeating behaviors. It connected the dots between learned thoughts/behaviors and the problems they created, for both myself and others. It helped me to regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.
I know no better way to explain it except to say that the world feels more hopeful, negative emotions have lost their power over me, and I’m regaining a sense of confidence in who I am, just as I am.
Where to Go to Experience the Benefits of Counseling
There are loads of ways you can find a fantastic licensed counselor to help you improve your entire life. Your local church or community center may offer counseling for free or at a significant discount.
Many employers also include several free counseling sessions as a part of their Employee Assistance Program. Contact your HR representative to find out!
A call to the number on the back of your health insurance card will connect you with a representative who can suggest several counseling options, as well as let you know what part of the fees your insurance plan will cover.
If you’re like me and have a challenging time getting regular appointments on the books, check out TalkSpace! This is where I met and interact with Brittany. It’s a texting/messaging counseling service where you chat back and forth with a counselor several times a day via text message, audio message, video message, or even live video sessions, depending on which plan you choose.
There are no contracts and you can even use your HSA (Health Savings Account) card to cover it! Bonus: If you follow this link, you’ll receive $200 off your first month!
The Benefits of Counseling Will Inspire You to Go Right Now
The benefits of counseling extend far beyond resolving specific situations. Counseling offers an outsider’s perspective, provides a dumping ground for negative emotions, and improves your communication and problem-solving skills, as well as every area of your life.
Have you experienced any additional benefits of counseling? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!
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