Do you ever wonder if counseling is what you need right now? Are you stuck or struggling with some stuff and need just an objective sounding board to get things sorted out? Does the problem at hand seem manageable if given the time and tools to help you through your rough spot?
We have found that many clients will come in for counseling and discover that they needed only a couple 2 or 3 appointments and were able to get through the moment with more strength and confidence. Then we have found that there are some clients that need more time to sort through many things that seem to tangle them up in life and want to get closure on a few troubling issues. Here with Pathways, we have realized that there is a need to connect with some clients on an initial consult session or sessions to sort out what they may want to address and see if counseling is what they need at the moment. Often times it may take the first couple or three sessions to get the difficulties or issues identified and clarified in order to determine a best course of action.
There are a few things to consider
Is this counseling really gonna help me right now?
We would say, “It all depends”. There are various factors we need to consider to figure out what course of action that may be beneficial for you. Sometimes it’s in what someone tells themselves about whether something or someone is going to be helpful. If we go into it with the attitude that “No one can help me with this…so I’ll just prove it to myself or my partner or family I don’t need help” then chances are that a mental or emotional wall has been put up to guard against help. However, if you go in with an open or clear mind and consider that a counselor may be there to sort out in a non-judgmental, objective way what may be needed to help you through this rough spot in your life then chances are you may find the help you need at the time.
Is this mental or emotional distress something that has just came up within the last 3 months?
Many times a short term problem may require a brief term solution to help you get through the uneasy or troubling feelings or thoughts that are part of the situation or the relationship difficulties. Sometimes they may cause you grief, stress, worry, guilt, or sadness. This is where having a brief consult session or two with a counselor to help determine what is going on for you and what would be a good course of action to take may be encouraging or freeing.
Is how I’m feeling or thinking something that I have felt a few times (or more) in the past?
You may find yourself in a deja vu from situations or relationships that seem to stir up the same kind of problems, feelings, thoughts and responses. Many times we have found clients who have consistent patterns of distress may have some unresolved emotional pain, trauma, fear, guilt, or shame that they need a bit more time to address. This may be determined in the first couple of sessions in order to set a course of counseling that you are willing to address getting encouragement, support, objective, care, and compassion from your counselor.
Is what I’m feeling disrupting my daily activities, work schedule, or relationships with others?
How you feel physically, mentally or emotionally may start to change gradually but over time becomes a noticeable irritation, struggle or disruption in your life. For example: you notice calling off from work more (or wanting to), not sleeping as well as you use to, your appetite may fluctuate, feeling more stressed out, not really motivated to do things you use to love doing, avoiding routine activities or relationships, your friends or family notice changes in your mood (like what or how you say something to them…maybe you “snap” at them, call them names, yell, grunt, or say some sarcastic comment). These are things that may tell you it’s time to get some professional help to sort things out.