Tag Archive: counseling

Mar 01

How to Get the Most Out of Counseling

How to Get The Most Out of CounselingCounseling is an investment. It’s an investment in you. An investment in the healing of present and past pain so it doesn’t continue to impact you in the same way.

Counseling is an investment. It's an investment in you. Click To Tweet

Counseling isn’t just another person to talk to but sitting with a highly trained person who is skilled to be fully present with you, fully attuned to what you say (verbally and non-verbally), and trained to see connections and patterns that you can’t see. This just scratches the surface of what a counselor does and doesn’t cover the hours of research or prep that they do for each client they see.

Counseling isn't just a person to talk to but a person trained to be fully present with you Click To Tweet

Since counseling is a big investment, you want to get the most out of the time (and money) you spend in therapy. Here are some suggestions about making the most out of counseling.

Since counseling is a big investment, you want to get the most out of the time (and money). Click To Tweet

Take the time to choose the right therapist.  The research suggests that one of the greatest factors that contribute to therapeutic success is the relationship or rapport between the counselor and the client. Now that’s a fancy way of saying, you need to click with your therapist and feel safe and comfortable with them. This means that if you take the time to call and speak with different counselors on the phone, ask them questions about their approach, tell them what you are looking for, and see who you feel most comfortable with….you will improve your chances of success in therapy!!! Who you choose as a counselor matters

Who you choose as a counselor matters. Click To Tweet

Know what you are looking to gain. Know what you are looking for. Are you looking to reduce anxiety, heal a past hurt, mend a relationship? Whatever it is, have some idea. This gives both you and your counselor a goal to work towards. Now you very well may find other goals along the journey. This happens frequently. Having an initial idea of what you are looking for, makes it easier to measure progress.

Be ready. Most of us want change but not all of us are ready for it. We may be scared of change or doubt it is even possible. I know it is scary to consider a change. But if you are looking for life to be different, what do you have to lose? Readiness to change is a combination of both openness and willingness. Open to go down whatever road the healing journey takes you and willing to do the work necessary to create change.

Readiness to change is a combination of both openness and willingness. Click To Tweet

Be honest with your counselor, what do you have to lose? Counselors are an interesting breed of people. They aren’t shocked or surprised by hurt, trauma, and pain. They don’t judge. They want you to feel safe to share your deepest pain and secrets. They are bound by confidentiality and won’t share it with anyone. Why not be completely open and honest with them about what is really going on? If you aren’t, you will delay your healing and lengthen the amount of time you are in therapy.

Be open to try what the counselor suggests both in session and out of session. Counselors spend a lot of time researching interventions that will help their clients on their healing journey. Interventions may be homework, letter writing, breathing skills, calming skills, journaling, art therapy, education, or experiential in session interventionsThey may ask you to talk with an empty chair or close your eyes and visualize something. Whatever it is they ask you to do, I promise you, it is to benefit your healing journey. So be all in.

Don’t try to rush the process. Counseling isn’t a quick, instant fix. It takes time to build the relationship, time for patterns to emerge and time for interventions to done and processed. Gaining insight and healing wounds takes time and isn’t a linear process but more of an up and down journey. So, don’t be in such a hurry that you don’t allow yourself the time to really sit with new insights and let them deepen.

Build momentum. Counseling works by the momentum of meeting weekly. Insights are processed over the course of a week and built upon during the next session. If you don’t meet weekly with your therapist then the momentum slows down and the process takes longer. Sometimes the process loses it’s effectiveness because of the loss of momentum. My goal with my clients is to meet weekly, build momentum and the relationship, until it becomes therapeutically beneficial to take more time between sessions. Meaning, I want to work myself out of a job and am constantly assessing where I am with each client. Weekly momentum makes a huge impact on the time it takes to reach counseling goals.

Be open to talking about the counseling relationship with your counselor. If you are uncomfortable or have any concerns about the relationship with your counselor bring it into session. You will notice that a lot of counselors automatically do this and are attuned to your shifts. Discussing the  relationship in session is a big part of the counseling process. If you are reacting to a counselor in a certain way, you’re  probably  reacting to someone in your life that way as well. Process it with your counselor so you can better understand you. Not sure that you are making progress or clicking with your counselor? Ask, talk about it. We’re trained to talk about the relationship and are completely okay with it!!

Take note of insights you gain during the process. Counseling generates a lot of insight.Therefore,  I would encourage you to write your insights down. You could take note of them in session, right after session, during the week as you reflect on the session, or all of the above. Insights are powerful and help us mentally shift and change. Taking note of them will help solidify the insights.

Counseling is a valuable investment anytime you find yourself stuck and struggling in life, especially if you’ve had a complicated and painful life story. You may spend a season of time in counseling that changes your quality of life for the present and the future. Just take a minute to really think about that!!  If you decide counseling would benefit you and live in the McKinney, Texas area, reach out and schedule a free phone consultation. If you don’t live close, I hope these tips help you make the most of your counseling journey. God doesn’t want you to live broken, ashamed, and stuck.

God doesn't want you to live broken, ashamed, and stuck. Click To Tweet

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Still not sure if the counseling investment is one you are ready to make? Click the image below to read a great article by my friend and colleague Allison Hutson, LPC-Intern supervised by David Dickerson, LPC-S.

Why Do Therapist Charge So Much

 

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/get-the-most-out-of-counseling/

Feb 07

Wanting an Instant Fix: How Our Instant-Upload Culture has Distorted Our Perspective on Change

Instant FixInstant fix. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Isn’t that what we’ve come to expect….a instant quick fix. I wonder if we have the right view of change? That may sound like a silly question. But seriously, how long do you think real life change takes?

You see I’m wondering if we have unrealistic expectations when it comes to a lot of things, especially change. It’s not our fault. The rapidly changing world of technology has lulled us into this mindset.

Today we can quickly take a picture and immediately edit it and share it with all our friends. There’s an actor’s name we can’t remember or some information we need…no problem, just grab your phone and search for it. Need to know how to get somewhere, just type it in the maps app and bam, up come directions. Want to see a movie? Check for times quickly on your phone and even get tickets.

The rapidly changing world of technology has lulled us into a instant fix mindset. Click To Tweet

I know I’m about to sound really old…but I remember a time when we had to WAIT for all of those things. We had to drop film off (praying and hoping we took one good picture) and wait a week to pick it up. We had to drive to the library to research anything. We had to find a map, figure out the route ourselves, and figure out how to fold the darn thing back up. We had to call the movie theater and hope it didn’t have a busy signal (that’s the beeping sound when the line was busy…man I’m feeling old) so we could sit through the list of times recorded by the theatre….or better yet and simpler, we would just drive to the theatre and pick a movie that was showing.

I’m not even scratching the surface of how life has changed over the last 30 years.

Now I am a HUGE fan of this advancement in technology. Cell phones and apps have revolutionized everything and I am grateful. So much has been simplified and streamlined. Yet, we’ve lost a few things along the way.

 

So much comes easy now that we’ve forgotten life's not that simple. Click To Tweet

So many things come so quickly and easily now that we’ve forgotten that not everything in life happens that way. Sometimes things happen in life and there isn’t an instant fix. In fact, an instant fix would not really even solve the problem. Some things in life are meant to take time.

Some things in life are meant to take time. Click To Tweet

Now we are willing to wait for pleasant things (aka…standing in line for concert tickets, roller coasters, meeting someone famous, really good food, etc.) But, are we willing to wait for things that aren’t as easy but take time? Things like:

Healing from Betrayal

 

Healing Relationship Problems

 

Healing from Anxiety

 

Healing from Depression

 

Healing from Trauma

 

Healing from Abuse

 

Changing Distorted Thinking

 

Healing from Perfectionism

 

Walking through Grief

No one wants to walk through those hard things. No one. But we all will face one if not several in our lifetime. So many come into counseling and want to rush the process. They don’t like the emotions they feel, it takes too long, it’s not easy, or simple. So they avoid, numb, deny, or distract themselves with more technology, another relationship, or some other dysfunctional coping strategy. This delays real healing.

So many come into counseling and want to rush the process delaying healing. Click To Tweet

Healing the body, the mind, the soul, or relationships takes time. It’s not a quick insta-change process. Yet real healing and real change is worth the wait and perseverance it takes to get there. Don’t be afraid of a slower process. It’s normal, good and necessary for lasting change.

Yet real healing and real change is worth the wait and perseverance it takes to get there. Click To Tweet

 

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/instant-fix/

Oct 30

Seeing a Counselor/Therapist? What’s Wrong with You?

counselor/therapist investment in youYou’re seeing a counselor/therapist? What’s wrong with you? I think this is the automatic thought most people have when we find out someone is seeing a counselor/therapist. Frequently this thought is accompanied by judgment. For those who decide to seek counseling, the shame and fear that comes with that predominant thought may contribute to many choosing to avoid or delay getting help. This breaks my heart because I spend time with really good counselors and the help available out there is amazing. So in this blog, I want to spend some time challenging the counseling/therapy stigma.
Let me ask you a question. If you have something wrong with your car and you can’t fix it yourself would you feel shame and guilt for needing to take it in to the repair shop?
Of course not. You have limited knowledge about cars (and a lot of other things) so you go to someone with more knowledge about that subject and pay them help you solve your car problem.
Now let’s say you are struggling with overwhelming stress and fear. So much so that it is beginning to impact your ability to function in life or maybe even leave your home. Telling yourself to get over it hasn’t worked and you really aren’t sure what to do next. You’ve talked to your friends and family but they don’t know how to help you either.
What if I told you that is one of the areas I specialize in. I help people understand how anxiety impacts the body, learn coping tools to calm the body, look for what is underneath the anxiety and deal with that.
A counselor/therapist is trained to do the following:
  1. Normalize: Everyone that comes in struggles with very normal life issues
  2. Educate: Knowing what and why things are happening
  3. Listen and ask the right questions: There is great power in being really listened to and understood
  4. Teach new coping skills: Learning new tools to deal with life’s challenges
  5. Look at root causes: Figuring out what went wrong and healing, growing, or changing.
  6. Facilitate a safe place to heal and grow. This is the ultimate safe relationship to explore who you are and who you want to be.
Not Crazy but Normal
People seek counseling/therapy not because they are crazy but because they are dealing with hard life circumstances, thoughts, emotions, and relationships. They recognize they need more knowledge and insight to solve whatever problem they are experiencing. The good news is there is so much hope for those who do seek help. It’s not a weak person that seeks therapy but someone who is:
Brave
Strong
Growth Minded
A Hope Seeker
Wise
 It’s not a weak person that seeks therapy but the brave. Click To Tweet
Now, I want to speak to the Christian crowd for a minute. There is a group of believers that do not believe in counseling/therapy. They feel that only prayer and scripture can solve life’s problems. I strongly value prayer and studying God’s word. Yet we don’t apply that line of thinking to any other profession. We wouldn’t refuse to go to a doctor and just pray. No, when a loved one is sick we go to professionally trained person to find healing. Why would we discourage others from finding help with the brokenness that we as believers know is a part of this world? We, as believers, know that the world is broken and people are impacted by that brokenness. Brokenness and sin’s impact is everywhere and sometimes its effects are so impactful that it’s normal to need support and help to deal with it.
I felt a specific call by God to counsel. I pray over my counseling room before I see clients and invite God into the session. I am a theology nerd and spend a lot of time learning and studying, theology and psychology. I believe that since God designed the world and humans, that true and honest scientific/psychological/sociological studies will validate and give us insight into what God has designed and laid out in scripture.
I am honored to do what I do. It is a gift to sit and walk with those struggling. It is exciting to see people grow, change, and heal. It’s amazing to be a part of God’s work of pushing back darkness and lies. I pray that if you are considering counseling, you will reach out, talk to a counselor on the phone, ask questions, and find someone you feel comfortable working with. 
“True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” Confucius
“True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” Confucius Click To Tweet
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates Click To Tweet
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight than silver.” Proverbs 16:16
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight than silver.” Proverbs 16:16 Click To Tweet
“A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with insight can draw them out.” Proverbs 19:5
“A person’s thoughts are like deep water but someone with insight can draw them out.” Prov. 19:5 Click To Tweet

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/counselor-therapist-stigma/

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