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  • Writer's pictureTyler N. Tolson

Is counseling right for me?

Source: University of Maryland, Baltimore

I’ve nearly gotten ahead of myself with this blogging business, and haven’t created some fundamentals that address: Is counseling right for me?

I actually struggle to answer this without automatically responding with, “Yes!” And not because I’m a counselor, but because I think everyone can strongly benefit from counseling.

Of course, I am a little biased. I’m American and, well, there is a stark cultural difference compared to that of Central Europe which is revealed in our reliance and (general) acceptance toward seeking out mental health practitioners. We’ve created many television shows, movies, and PSAs from celebrities highlighting it, as well as stationing guidance counselors and psychologists in schools and corporate offices. The United States is not exemplary by providing mental healthcare— especially if we get into the costs of that healthcare— but attitudes towards seeking help are not looked down upon.

Sadly, I’ve had more than a handful of clients claim the following (each more than once):

“[My Czech partner] has been suffering their whole life, but was always told counseling would confirm they were insane.”

“My [loved one] is very [fill-in Central/Eastern European], I could never talk about feelings.”

“[People/Friends/My boss] here could never understand me if I told them about my [mental illness/feelings around hardship].”

These kinds of statements have weighed on me since I moved here, and was in large part why I decided to implement a wider range of techniques, with more affordable rates, and sliding scale options. Czechs are the 13th highest EU nation in suicide rates, as reported by the WHO in Sept. 2018. By making mental health services more accessible, with more people encouraged to try counseling, it could change lives and the society that we live in.

Now to address the question: Is counseling right for me?

In short: Absolutely. It is for anyone, for any reason, at any time— As long as you are open to growth, challenging yourself, and working towards being the person you would like to be.

In length:

  • Are you feeling sad, unmotivated, hopeless?

  • Overwhelmed, anxious, and unable to know who to turn to? At the end of your rope, or are fearful you could be?

  • Are you feeling apathetic towards things, people, and parts of life that once brought you joy?

  • Are you feeling excessively worried about your life or someone else’s?

  • Are you unable to complete daily and routine tasks, such as working, cleaning, sleeping, etc.?

  • Are you experiencing a life transition such as a significant move to a new city, loss of a job, break up or divorce, or grief of loss of a loved one?

  • Are you coping with identity problems or adverse reactions from family, friends, and society related to race, gender, and/or sexuality?

  • Are you suffering relationship problems? Do you feel that your means of communication and ways to cope could be improved with a professional?

  • Have you suffered emotional and/or physical trauma and/or abuse?

  • Do you suffer from an addiction or obsessive/compulsive behavior?

  • Are you suffering from a chronic illness or disorder that leaves you feeling alienated?

  • Do you have a child that is excessively acting out, behaving differently, or is experiencing difficult life events in a way that you would like to provide support for?

If you’ve said “Yes” to at least one of these questions, then the answer is that counseling would be right for you. And as I mentioned in brief, I think everyone could benefit from counseling to be given more room to thrive in a space with support without judgement.

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