For whatever reason, counseling has a terrible stigma in our society. It’s been too often viewed as a resource that only broken people partake in. Well, I have news for you: we are all broken people who could benefit from counseling at some capacity.
This past year, after dealing with the strains of being a healthcare worker amidst a pandemic AND a newlywed AND lonely in a new city that just went on shutdown, I realized I needed someone to talk to that wasn’t my husband. I needed a third party who could hear my woes and give me constructive feedback on how to overcome them with God’s help. Counseling was exactly what I needed.
During PA school, there was a season where I strongly considered seeking counseling and even went so far as to call groups in the area. Unfortunately, many of the providers/counselors were not taking any new patients and my insurance wasn’t currently covering much of the cost. I stopped pursuing shortly thereafter. But this past year, I realized how deep my need was once again, and I went searching. It took me months to admit to myself the toll that this year had taken on me. I asked a few local friends if they had any groups or counselors they could suggest, and finally I found one that fit my needs. After experiencing months of loneliness and physical/mental exhaustion, I needed a safe space to talk through my feelings and use them as fuel for proactive growth.
I’ve been doing counseling since August 2020. It hasn’t been a long journey by any means, but I can already see growth from it. So far, it’s allowed me to look at my life more introspectively, to understand my rote emotional responses, and to healthily work through my emotions. Counseling has enabled me to sieve through my experiences and learn from them without letting them define me. I can’t recommend it enough. This past year brought with it some of the most challenging circumstances I’ve ever had to face. But thankfully because of my faith, husband, family, and counseling, I’ve felt more equipped and capable of surmounting the hardships
The beauty of counseling is that people utilize it for a myriad of different reasons.
Here are just a few…
seasons of transition
eating disorders/body image
sexual identity issues
life changes/periods of transition
It pains me that too often people refrain from seeking counseling because of the stigma surrounding it. But know that it’s okay to feel hesitation in taking that leap. It takes courage to ask for and seek help, but in that admittance of humility and deep need, growth abounds!
How to Find a Therapist
I would start your search by asking those you trust. Oftentimes your friends and family will at least have suggestions of reputable groups that they have used or heard of. Your pastor and/or church leaders would also be a great resource for counseling groups they refer their church members to. However if you can’t seem to find one by word-of-mouth, then I would check your online resources. You can start by using your insurance’s webpage to search available providers in your area. Most insurance companies have ways to search for specific specialties in your city that are accepting new patients. Or you can go to psychologytoday.com to look for therapists in your zip code. Now more than ever, there are incredible resources out there for you to get the help you need. With the rise in telehealth and telemedicine, you can now safely receive care without undue exposures.
Everyone Can Benefit From Counseling
We all have problems. We all are broken and need fixing. But taking the leap to seek counseling and ask for help could be one of the best decisions you make in this new year. If you’ve been on the fence about seeking personal or group counseling, consider this your sign to do some research and find a counselor/therapist in your neck of the woods. Then the hard and holy work of bettering yourself can begin!