Many people delay seeking counseling for several reasons. I will highlight some of them tomorrow and discuss how you can overcome these obstacles.

No one will understand me
  • This is actually one of the most common reasons why people DO go to counseling. Unlike our friends, family, and other people in our support system, the most effective therapists specialize in active listening.  Active listening means that your therapist will listen very intently on every word you are speaking in an attempt to fully understand your situation(s); as well as identify themes, patterns, and/or habits; rather than doing what many of our friends and family do; which is halfway listening while also trying to formulate what they are going to say when you are done speaking.  This is no fault of their own; as they are likely just trying to help but one of the most frustrating issues that our clients face is that they don’t feel like they are being heard by their support network.  When it comes to our friends and family, many times they want to offer a “fix” or solution to the problem; however, it is rarely just one thing that makes everything all better.  The most effective counselors put a huge emphasis on learning and understanding your situation.
My last therapist was awful
  • I can only speak for our practice on this one but one of our key principles is that our pain and adversity is what makes us stronger, more resilient, and feel more fulfilled and ultimately paves our path to happiness. Sometimes we have to encounter seemingly negative circumstances in order to truly understand what we actually are wanting; such as learning what we want in a therapist.  Many times we make our decisions on whether or not to pursue something based on past experiences; however, when all we have to go off of is one or two experiences, we are not being fair to ourselves.
  • There are so many different areas of our lives where we continue to search for the right fit for us and refuse to give up on. For instance, how many people fall in love and marry the very first person they date?  Even though the first people we dated don’t typically end up our soulmate, we continue to meet new people, date, and eventually, find the person that meshes well with us.  I think back to an example someone gave me when describing the process of finding a therapist that fit and that she trusted. She discussed how the first therapist she saw was not the right fit for her.  She very intuitively linked this experience to a previous relationship she had.  She said to me that she was in a previous relationship where the guy struggled to trust her because of his past relationships.  She then said, “it was not fair for him to base his trust in me on his past relationships that had nothing to do with me; therefore, I couldn’t use the same irrational reasoning when it came to choosing the appropriate therapist.  I know it wouldn’t be fair to conclude that just because I had a bad experience with one counselor meant that they were all going to be that way”.
  • Many times we do not stick with the first doctor, trainer, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. that we encounter. We shop around a little bit to find the best fit.  This is extremely important and highly recommended when seeking for the counselor that you feel comfortable with.  This is about YOU and finding someone you trust is one of the most important determinants of successfully achieving your therapeutic goals.
  • We know how hard of a decision choosing a counselor can be; which is why Healthfit Counseling chooses to help alleviate the anxiety of potential new clients by offering a FREEphone or in-person consultation so you can ask any questions and get a good idea of whether one of our counselors would be a good fit for you. This takes a lot of the pressure off as a consultation comes with no strings attached and doesn’t cost anything to you.
I Don’t Have Time
  • In my experience, when someone says they don’t have time for something usually means that their mental well-being is not a priority for them. I do an exercise with individuals who either have trouble committing the necessary time to be most effective or those who struggle with time management issues that give people an accurate account of where they are spending their time.  It is a very simple exercise.  All you do is list all of the tasks that take up time in your week and write down the type of task and how many hours or minutes you dedicate to each one.  This includes sleep, work, hobbies, children’s activities, church, grocery shopping, drive time to places you go, family time, etc.  You then take the number of hours dedicated to your weekly responsibilities and subtract it by 168; which is how many hours are in a 7 day week.  This will give you the total of unaccounted hours of your week.  I have used this exercise with hundreds of clients and the lowest number of unaccounted for hours was 29.5.  That is, the person could not tell me what they were doing for 29.5 hours out of their week.  Again that is the lowest.  The highest amount was up in the high 40’s.  Once people start becoming aware of where they spend their time and how much of it is used to just pass time, it is typically pretty easy to find time in the schedule to start working on becoming the best version of yourself.
I Am Weak if I Ask For Help
  • The stigma regarding mental health is improving; however, there is still a lot of room for improvement. When people think “mental health”, they are actually thinking it means mental health “disorder” which cannot be further from the truth.  When we talk about improving physical health, we don’t say that physical health is for people with physical disorders.  Just like our physical health, mental health is just as much about prevention as it is treatment.
  • We challenge the notion that people do not attend therapy because they are weak if they ask for help.
  • Ask yourself:
    • When your car breaks down, do we tell ourselves that we can’t get it fixed because I’m weak if I ask a mechanic for help?
    • When we go get our flu shots or yearly physicals, do we tell ourselves that we are weak because we are engaging in preventative health?
    • When we have a termite or ant problem in our home, do we feel weak when we have to call an exterminator?
    • If our lawn mower breaks down, do we feel weak when we ask the repair person to fix it for us?
    • When our phone malfunctions, do we think we are weak when we call tech support so they can give us the remedy to our problem?
    • Do we see it as weak if someone comes to us and asks for help with something? Not usually.  We see it as a sign of strength when others ask for help which begs the question: “Why is it a weakness for us to ask for help but it is not if someone else asks us for help?” It is time to start treating yourself like you matter.  That starts with learning to be fair to yourself.
I Don’t Want Anyone To Know I Am Going to Therapy

No one needs to know. We understand that this can be a very personal experience.  You don’t have to share everything with everyone.

That said, you may be surprised to find out that more people go to therapy than you think. Should you choose, in time, to share this information with your inner circle, you may find a friend saying s/he has also gone to (or is currently going to) therapy.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable telling friends that you go to therapy, don’t tell them.  An effective therapist will help you manage the pressure you put on yourself.

I’ll Feel Judged
  • Again, one of the reasons why many people attend therapy or counseling is because most therapists promote a safe place where you can discuss whatever you choose to discuss without judgment or backlash. At Healthfit Counseling, we believe that the most effective therapists have experienced and overcame adversity and pain (or continue working towards goals).  Most people have done things they are not particularly proud of and every single one of us has made mistakes along the way.  As therapists, we know how it feels to open up to someone and feel judged.  The fact that we know how unpleasant that feels, makes us even more aware and we ensure that we go into helping people with the understanding that it is not about judging; it’s about understanding and helping you find solutions.