Have you recently had someone recommend that you should consider counseling? Your reaction to this suggestion may have been varied from agreeing, strongly disagreeing or anything in between.
Just how should you handle such a recommendation? Here are some thoughts on how to process someone telling you to seek therapy.
Sometimes People Say You Need Counseling to Hurt or Control You
It’s sad to have to bring this up but it needs to be addressed. Some people tell others they need counseling to cause them pain, to control them or both.
Doing so can actually be a form of emotional abuse in toxic friendships, workplaces or familial relationships. It can be used as a way to create a “playing field” that isn’t fair.
Terms such as crazymaking or gaslighting come to mind. In this situation, telling someone they need counseling isn’t meant to be helpful. The goal actually is meant to communicate to the person supposedly in need of therapy that they are “fatally flawed”.
Saying something like this with such motives is nothing short of cruel. It can make people doubt their personal wellness or confidence when, many times, they shouldn’t. It’s no wonder that individuals under such circumstances would be resistant to talk therapy.
As we’ll see, such attempts to hurt or control are misguided for one important reason.
Everyone Can Benefit from Counseling
The stigma surrounding counseling as only for “fatally flawed individuals” is unfounded and unfair. The truth is that we’re all uniquely flawed just as we’re all uniquely gifted—that’s what makes us human.
Sure, counselors are available for individuals in those times when the mental faculties break down in a significant way. They also want to help when relationships are on the verge of “hitting the fan”. Virtually everyone goes through times like these at some point, by the way.
That said, there are plenty of other valuable reasons to see a counselor. The best way to go about talk therapy is more from a maintenance perspective than one of crisis. When things have gotten really bad in a relationship, struggles are more difficult to resolve. Not impossible, mind you. Just more difficult.
What many fail to see is that counseling is valuable for more than the especially rough patches in life. It’s also a great way to go from having a decent life or relationship to something far better. In other words, it’s not just about surviving but also about thriving.
And thriving is something we all can improve upon whether we’re at a mountaintop life experience or stuck in a dark, swampy valley.
Most People are Well-Meaning When They Recommend that You Seek Counseling
Well-meaning or not, such comments can still be hurtful. Oppositely, such suggestions may not bother you at all. Close friends and family you trust have earned the right to make suggestions that other people really shouldn’t.
Most importantly, whether you seek counseling or not is ultimately up to you. It’s your life. And you’ll almost always see better results if initiating talk therapy was your idea more than anyone else’s.
Counseling can be an excellent way to work towards life improvement. You get to work with a trained professional who’s helped many people with challenges similar to yours. And that puts you at a unique advantage.