Mal-adjustment, mental state, emotionally unstable, therapy, counselor — What effect do these words have on you? How do you react to them?

If you cringed at the thought of getting therapy then let’s clear out some of the misconceptions.

It’s funny how when I tell people I’m a counselor, their immediate response is “You must be dealing with a lot of crazy people!”. I patiently explain that I work with regular people who are having struggles coping with tough situations in life. It may be a divorce, the loss of a loved one, depression, unemployment, parenting challenges, etc. This is the stigma that has to be addressed. Once awareness sets in, ignorance is out!

We all know that life is dynamic. It is in a process of constant change. We keep moving from one phase of life to another with age. Or we shift from one season to another. Not everyone can cope with transitions as easily or as quickly. Hence a therapist helps one organize their thoughts, make rational decisions and overcome obstacles to function normally.

Let’s see what therapy is and what it is not!

It Is:

  • It is used to help one identify his/her capacities.
  • It is to assess the resources available to help the client’s situation.
  • It is to provide a clear and safe environment to bring out issues and not fear disclosure.
  • It is to help the client arrive at their own decisions for their benefit.
  • It is to set for themselves long-term and short-term goals.
  • It is to help someone become self aware and better their coping skills so they would be equipped to deal with similar situations in the future.

It’s Not:

  • A place for treating “crazy people”.
  • To get the therapist to solve the situation.
  • Becoming dependent on therapy for life.
  • A place where the client can shift their negativity/vent it out and leave once the client feels better.
  • A safe environment to escape the realities of life.

Therapy is not magic. It’s a process to help individuals hone their skills at dealing with life and its changes in more effective manner. It believes that everyone has the capacity to lead more productive lives, build healthier relationships and function socially. Therapy these days can be an online therapy also, a lot of free online counselling portals are also working these days. So just know that a therapist is just a message away!

-Jennifer Peters

The author is a Senior Psychologist practicing out of Bangalore.

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