Unfortunately, I had a pretty traumatic childhood. My parents were always fighting, and I was faced with trying to decide what to do about my own personal feelings. When I got older, I knew that I needed to do something to relieve the stress that I was feeling even many years later, so I started focusing on going to counseling. My first few appointments were a little nerve-racking, but the counselor worked hard to make me feel comfortable. I was really impressed with how gentle and kind she was, and I felt really great about the progress I was making. This blog is all about benefiting from counseling.
Many people think of counseling services as being for those with diagnosed mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. And indeed, counseling can be really helpful for patients with these and other conditions. However, you can benefit from counseling even if you don't have a diagnosis. Here are some of the key things you can get out of adult counseling sessions.
Strategies for dealing with stress
Most people have stress in their life, and you're probably no exception. You may have developed some strategies for dealing with stress over the years, but they are not necessarily healthy. For instance, maybe you pour yourself a drink when you're stressed, or maybe you withdraw from the people you love. These stress responses may not be a problem yet, but they can devolve into bigger problems like alcoholism and isolation over time. Your counselor can help you examine the sources of your stress and develop healthier ways of dealing with them. They might teach you some deep breathing techniques, how to say "no" politely when you can't handle taking on more responsibilities, and how to relax your mind when you're feeling overwhelmed.
Help with improving relationships
People often fumble through their relationships, figuring it out as they go along. There's really no handbook for being a wife, husband, sister, friend, and so forth. However, there are well-established ways that you can work towards being more honest and communicative in your relationships. There are also ways you can be better at understanding the emotions and behaviors of those with who you interact. Your counselor can identify some of the challenges and shortcomings in your relationships and help you work through them. This can lead to a stronger marriage, more meaningful friendships, and so forth.
Awareness of your emotions
How aware are you of the emotions you feel? Can you tell when you are feeling angry, versus sad? Do you feel like you're in control of your feelings? These are all things that most people could stand to improve on. A counselor can walk you through some exercises to increase your emotional intelligence, which will greatly help you in your daily interactions. You won't leave the room thinking, "Why did I act that way?" again.
Counseling is not just for people with diagnosed mental health problems. It can also be really helpful for those who are in good mental health and just want to work towards maintaining that health.