If you are thinking about seeing a counsellor, here are 5 things you should know:
1. Their job is to listen
It can feel like you are burdening someone with your problems, but it’s their job! They are there to help you process WHATEVER you need. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the reason you go, but maybe it ties together anyway. You talk about what you want, you say as much or as little as you want, it’s really up to you.
2. There is little that will surprise them
Don’t be worried about how ‘crazy’ your situation or feelings are. They are trained to take in whatever you tell them. But they are human, so they may have an emotional reaction. Good counsellors are often empathetic people, which means that they often feel what you are feeling as a way to connect and relate to you.
3. They are there to keep your secrets
A counsellor is bound by an oath of confidentiality. What this means is it is against the law for them to talk about what you share with them. There’s an exception to this rule though. If they have good reason to think that you are in danger, then they are allowed to talk to the appropriate authority. It’s for your safety.
4. It always feels awkward opening up to a stranger
It’s not easy. Start small, open up at your own pace. It’s normal to want to take time to build trust with someone who you are about to share your feelings and experiences with. Counsellors are prepared for that! They may even have some questions for you to help them get to know you better.
5. You aren’t married to them.
If you see a counsellor a couple of times but don’t feel connected to them, it’s okay to seek out someone else. This may be hard if you live in a small town, but there may be other options for you, like over the phone services. You just have to ask.
Remember, it’s your life, your feelings, your journey and YOU get to be in control of how and with whom you begin healing.