Post # 1
I’ve seen many people recommend counseling to help with various personal and relationship problems. I’m writing this post to get some additional advice from bees who recommend counseling.
I’m having some personal problems right now and I am really having a hard time handling them. I recognize the problems, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to handle them. Without spilling my guts in public on the Internet, I’ll say that a lot of these problem revolve around figuring out what I really want and overcoming doubts and fears to go after the things I truly want in life.
I went to a counselor for about 4 weeks to get help with these issues, but I stopped going because I felt like she didn’t “get it” and I ended up getting very disillusioned with the process.
Are the kinds of general issues I described something that I could reasonably expect counseling to help with?
I see lots of information online about making sure to use the right counselor for you. Any tips on how I can find the right counselor or identify if a counselor is a good fit during the first session?
How can I approach a counselor in the first session(s) or even when scheduling an appointment to make sure they clearly understand my issue and what I want out of counseling?
Post # 3
Yes, and it was absolutely helpful for me. But only after the first person I went to was clearly a bad fit.
I found the “right” therapist for me by getting a referral from a friend of mine, someone whose judgment I trust and whose personality is somewhat similar to mine. I’m lucky that in my circles, it’s common and not stigmatized to get treatment when you need it, so I knew of several friends who were in treatment. I asked around, and one of them sounded like she’d be a good fit for me.
However, I’ll add the caveat that I almost quit seeing her at one point early on. I don’t really remember why, but I was getting frustrated with something or other. It would have been a big mistake, because I think my frustration was a symptom that she was actually getting at some difficult issues that I hadn’t quite acknowledged to myself. I’m glad I stuck with it.
Post # 4
@mightywombat: Thanks for sharing. It’s really great that you were able to rely on your friend’s recommendation to find a good counselor. I don’t have any friends or family that have done counseling, so I’m pretty unsure of how it’s supposed to work.
If you don’t mind me asking, How did you know that your counselor was a good fit vs the first counselor you saw? Are there certain things you were looking for? Also, how did you tell the difference between bad fit and your own resistance to dealing with difficult issues?
Post # 5
Sometimes you have to try someone else to know whether the one you got is good. I am at that point with someone–done a few sessions and it helps, but I feel like I do a lot of the work in our sessions. I also feel like it is too easy for me to bullshit my therapist, and she isn’t really savy about calling me on stuff. Kind of frustrating.
Post # 6
We see a couple’s counselor from time to time and I’ve seen a counselor on my own. The couple’s counselor I found online but it took forever to find her. She was basically the one that seemed to specialize in the issues we were wanting to tackle. The rest just mentioned them in their profiles like “oh, yeah, we do this too in conjunction with some crazy therapy technique you’ve never heard of.” 🙂 I stopped going to my personal counselor because she didn’t get me either. It was like she literally wasn’t listenin.g It happens. Our couple’s counselor told us that finding a good therapist is kinda like dating. They all have different approaches and personalities and sometimes you just don’t mesh. Doesn’t mean therapy is bad. Just means you didn’t fit and you find someone who does.
What I like about our current lady is that I can tell she is listening and she summarizes what she hears from us and repeats it back to confirm that we are tracking. She’s also very good at understanding what we are trying to say when we are having trouble vocalizing ourselves. Not only that, but she’s very good at finding the root of the issue and bringing it to light, even if we haven’t realized it yet.
The lady I didn’t like doesn’t listen. She’s always tried to insert her own opinions rather than allow me to come to my own conclusions with her guidance. I didn’t need a buddy to gossip with. I needed insight and help. She frequently forgot what we discussed and then based her opinions on my life on that misinformation.
Good luck with everything! Hope you find someone that works for you!
Post # 7
YES! I love my counselor, but I met her fortuitously in a scenario independent of counseling. I learned she was a counselor, and started seeing her, and it’s been great ever since.
The key is seeing someone you really click with. And by the way, clinicians say you won’t really see any great results from counseling until about 12 weeks in, and that’s only the beginning. Just stick with it once you find someone worth working with.
Post # 8
I’ve been to one counselor that helped a lot, and one that didn’t help at the time at all. But to be honest, the things she said that didn’t help at the time turned out to be true down the road. You should try to keep an open mind about the way she’s doing things or the direction she’s going. But if you’re already doing that and you really think she’s just completely off, shop around a bit more.
Post # 9
I’ve seen several counsellors, and had different experiences with each – the first was shocking! She let me talk for five minutes, then nattered about herself for ages! The second one I saw pretty much out of desperation – I was having loads of personal issues and really needed someone to talk to about it. He was good and we made a little progress, but we didn’t quite ‘click’ so he referred me to another counselling organisation that worked with survivors of sexual violence (which was my main issue at the time). The one I was referred to was amazing!! Right from the start I felt I could tell her pretty much anything, and I made heaps of progress with her. After about 10-12 weeks, I was pretty much all sorted out and had the skills now to take care of myself and prevent any ‘relapses.’
I think counselling is vital if you’ve got any issues that you’re struggling to separate yourself from. Just make sure that you feel comfortable with your counsellor, because the most important part of any form of therapy is your ability to relate to your therapist.
Post # 10
I haven’t, but I would if I felt I needed it and could afford it. Unfortunately, times where I probably really could have used a counselor in my life also involved being really, REALLY broke and uninsured.
This also might seem dumb, but I would also reccomend the Jillian Micheals book “Unlimited.” I’m not crazy about the actual way the book is written (vernacular), but the content is good and I have definitely found it helpful in trying to break a few unhealthy cycles and let myself learn to enjoy success better.
Post # 11
Therapy was a personal revolution for me!
I think it’s really important to shop around a bit and get a counselor that you mesh well with, though.
Post # 12
I went to court mandated therapy as a tenenager and i hated it. That being said i later went to a psycologist who helped me. Honestly, find the right theraoist is a lot like dating. You need to find someone that has a similar outlook on life, goals, religion etc
Post # 13
@VAwife: Hey, so sorry this is coming so late! I only just now saw your reply.
I think the key issue for me was that the first woman I saw simply wasn’t challenging. That might seem like a weird thing to say. But I felt like she was going through a script – she was asking me the same questions she’d ask every single patient who came through her door, rather than really hearing what I was saying and responding to my particular issues. And, this sounds awful, but she didn’t seem that smart. I didn’t trust that she would understand me very well.
The one I stuck with was very kind and compassionate, but also challenging. She listened carefully, she remembered things from one session to the next, and she gently pushed me to confront things I didn’t want to confront, so that I could actually make choices about how to respond to my situation, rather than just reacting to it. If that makes sense. I toyed with the idea of quitting because it was getting too hard, whereas with the first woman, I thought it would be too easy (and ineffective).
Post # 14
My Husband and I have been to counseling before and it did seem to help, but I think it would certainly benefit us to go back in the future. We can’t go now unfortunately cuz we don’t have health insurance or enough money. I think it does depend on your counselor and how willing you both are to work at it though.
I think the best way to see if the counselor is the right fit is just to go to an appointment and ask him/her questions on their style of therapy and success rates. You can find plenty of counselors online. If you have health insurance then you can start on their website.
Post # 15
Thank you all so much for sharing. I’m glad to know that so many of you have benefited from counseling. I guess I’ll give it another shot. Thanks!