Why would I speak with a counsellor?
“Yes, I’m stressed and barely sleeping. But that’s reasonable given what’s going on. My mortgage rate keeps going up month after month, I can really see the effect of inflation on how much I’m spending, and now my boss is talking about re-structuring so I’m worried about my job. How could talking with someone about it help? I don’t need a counsellor.”
We recognize that for many people speaking with a counsellor doesn’t seem like a helpful thing to do and it may feel quite daunting. Why would that help? is a very reasonable question. A recent study found that there was one main skill that counselling teaches that makes it helpful – ‘psychological flexibility.’ Psychological flexibility consists of three components – all of which can be built through seeing a counsellor.
- The first is Awareness. This means noticing what is happening in the present moment… What thoughts are you having? What feelings? And what sensations are you noticing in your body?
- The second component is Openness. This means allowing any difficult thoughts and feelings that you notice just to be, without battling them. Interestingly, it’s often the battle with the difficult thoughts and feelings that grows the difficulty.
- The third component is Valued Engagement. This means knowing what matters to you, and taking steps in that direction. It involves being in contact with your goals and your values.
Awareness, Openness, and Valued Engagement can all be learnt and developed. We can change the way we think – counselling is very good at helping us do that. And when we bring these three elements more into our life, we find we have more choice and control. We are more aware of what it is worth putting our energy into.
Let’s return to the person I quoted at the beginning of this article – the person who is experiencing many stresses, and doesn’t see any point in counselling. A friend convinces them to call us, and they arrange some counselling sessions. After their first session they recognise that simply stressing about rising interest rates and cost of living doesn’t help – but action does. So they get some specialist financial counselling from us which helps them lessen their debt levels. They then speak with a nutrition counsellor, they start eating more healthily and exercising more, which in turn helps them sleep more soundly. They also speak with a career counsellor who helps them plan for their next career step.
Above all, they learn they have more say over how they feel and think than they imagined they did. They are more in control of themselves and their life. That’s why you speak with a counsellor!
If you would like to arrange an appointment, call us on 1800 818 728.
Stephen Malloch, Manager Clinical Consulting