Life will inevitably throw you some curve balls but with some help you can learn to hit them out of the park. Hardships in life are unavoidable and we could all use some support when times get rough, someone to shed some light on an otherwise dark time. According to Brene Brown, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never a weakness.” Regardless of whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, self-esteem, or simply need some direction in life, counseling can help. Here are the top 9 benefits of counseling:
1. Opportunity for Self-Exploration and Self-Discovery
Seeing a counselor provides you with the opportunity to learn about yourself and gain a greater understanding into your personality, values, and beliefs. It allows you to increase self-awareness and insight into your own role in the problems you may be facing, and awareness is key to change. It encourages you to embark on a personal journey towards personal growth.
2. Provides Support and Validation
Counselors strive to provide a safe, non-judgmental, warm, and caring environment for clients to feel comfortable with disclosure of personal matters. The top 3 characteristics of most counselors include empathetic understanding, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness. Therefore, it is a place where you don’t have to worry about being judged, ridiculed, or put down. Your emotions are validated, your situations are normalized, and you will be ensured that you are not alone.
3. Assists in Change of Self-Defeating Habits
Sometimes we have habits that are contributing to our problems in life. Counseling can help bring about awareness of the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that revolve in a never-ending cycle of self-defeat. With awareness, you can learn what steps are needed to take action and regain control over your behaviors in order to enhance more positive change.
4. Enhancement of Self-Esteem and Self-Acceptance
Most of us have experienced some sort of insecurity about our appearance, abilities, skills, or personality traits in our lifetime. Focusing on the negative aspects of ourselves can make us blind to the positive traits we have. Although we all may have something we don’t like about ourselves, through counseling, we can also learn to accept our flaws and imperfections as a part of being human. With self-acceptance comes self-love, self-compassion, and a stronger sense of self-confidence. You will be able to improve your weaknesses by building upon your strengths.
5. Guidance in Finding Purpose
What is the greater meaning in life? The answer to this question is unique to every individual. For those that are in an existential crisis or are grieving a loss, usually experience a temporary loss of self/identity. Through exploration of values, beliefs, interests, and memories, counseling may help you rediscover your purpose, passion, and meaning in life.
6. Better Expression and Management of Emotions
Whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, or anger, counseling can help you identify, express, and better regulate your emotions. Through an increased awareness of triggers, understanding of maladaptive coping, and modeling of related situations, you can learn to express and cope with your emotions in a healthy way. This way you can prevent escalation of negative emotions that may lead to unhealthy behaviors.
7. Provides a Safe Outlet to Vent about Issues
Counseling offers relief from mental health, relational, and situational concerns by providing a safe environment to vent. Sometimes we need to let go of things that are on our mind but are afraid of the consequences or worried about what other people would think. Counseling ensures confidentiality and no judgment. When we keep negative emotions/thoughts bottled up for so long, it’s only a matter of time until our caps pop off. Therefore, counseling is a place to unload grievances, express frustrations, let go of resentments, release pent up emotions, and uncover hidden pains that have been holding us back from having peace of mind.
8. Fostering Hope, Motivation, and Encouragement
Whether you feel completely and utterly hopeless or just need a little boost, counseling can help. Without hope or motivation, our lives can appear to be falling apart because we struggle to take action or make change due to not seeing the point in trying. However, counselors can help spark some motivation by bringing awareness to positive achievements in the present and past to strengthen hope for the future self, future relationships, and future life.
9. Learning Effective Skills for Life
There is an infinite amount of skills that you can learn through counseling that are useful in everyday life. These range from problem-solving and conflict resolution skills to communication and interpersonal skills. Counseling provides a safe environment to learn, practice, and experiment with these skills before applying them to real situations outside of sessions. These ultimately lead to better overall wellness for the body, mind, and spirit.