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Shifting Our Perceptions of Counseling

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I can’t remember a time someone crossed the threshold into my counseling office saying that they had it all figured out. Declaring though they were totally happy, and life was great, they were just seeking a little tune-up to ensure things kept humming along.

But I do remember the many who waited until their lives blew apart before they sought counseling. Finally coming for help because some part of their life or heart had been shattered. Now at a stage where life had become unbearable and just struggling to cope.

I do understand why people delay seeking support. It can be hard to admit to others we have problems, and have been unable to fix or manage them.

And I get that it can be so tempting to avoid facing our issues. Just hoping they will just disappear and go away. Or praying things will improve and that time will heal.

But generally, life doesn’t work this way. Troubles seldom just magically disappear.

More often, troubles spiral and attract more troubles. Problems often become more tangled and confused and complex. Issues can compound and build momentum. Hurts and wounds grow deeper.

And while I profoundly believe prayer and time are amazing resources, and can result in powerful healing, they are best when paired with some concrete learning and action on our part. Where we roll up our sleeves and engage in authentic, sincere, honest self-examination and action.

Where we courageously look at our issues, accept our contributions and responsibilities, and learn more affirming ways to walk through life.

I totally get how humbling it is to admit we haven’t been able to figure things out. And I personally know how emotionally challenging it is to confront and wrestle with understanding and healing and learning better ways to manage our lives.

But the truth is, the longer we leave issues to fester, the harder they can become to resolve.

Owning the truth of our messes and our stories, and investing in resolving our issues and in healing, is some of the toughest work we will ever do.

But it can also be some of the most rewarding.

For counseling can help us resolve life’s knots and tangles. And through learning and adopting new ways of thinking and behaving there is the potential to radically change how our lives will continue to unfold. It offers us the prospect of growth, and of being refined and transformed. All contributing to a greater sense of joy and contentment and empowerment, even when we find ourselves in the midst of winter seasons.

Shifting our perceptions of counseling helps us to recognize that the act of reaching out to ask for help is not about weakness or failure.

But rather, it is a choice saturated with courage and honesty and strength. An exclamation of one’s ability to be authentic and vulnerable, with a genuine love for self and others. And it is about stepping across the threshold into healing and possibilities and hope.

Follow this journey on The Stones Call.

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Getty image via Aramyan

Originally published: January 25, 2018
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