I had been told by a friend of mine for many years that I should go see her therapist because he was amazing at what he does and therapy is a great resource for many different issues that arise throughout our lifetime. I conceded that she may be right but pride can be a large barrier when you allow it to be and I wasn’t convinced that a stranger would be better at navigating issues that were unique to me. I suppose that was the first fault in my thinking because my issues were not unique. My situations were very much unique by definition but the issues that stemmed from the situations were actually quite common. Once I was able to step outside of my situations and look at the larger picture I could understand the need for, and the value of therapy. I decided to take the advice of the trusted friend and see her therapist. That was two years ago and since that first day in therapy I became a strong proponent for counseling psychology.
The APA (American Psychological Association) defines counseling psychology with a broad stroke that is very inclusive and for this reason the effects of counseling psychology have the potential to be socially profound. Counseling is designed to help individuals, families, and groups navigate issues that surround emotional and mental health and also provide the clients(s) with a heightened sense of self through reducing stress and managing crisis. (APA, 2013). These issues are so encompassing that nearly every person in our society could benefit from taking the time to meet with someone who has the education and the training to work with them and help them understand how to resolve or make use of challenges.
Once I began therapy I was able to acknowledge the effects of my past and my struggles and how these effects kept me from bringing my talents to the table. Before therapy I remained hidden in the hurt and shame and instead of allowing people to know I was broken, thus helping remove the stigma, I wore a mask and remained in this state of simply existing without making good use of the footprint that I was inevitably leaving behind me. Once I was in therapy I was able to see the value in my story and how it allows me to connect to people in an empathetic way because the fear of rejection has been removed through my own personal acceptance. These changes within me extended far beyond me; I am raising children in an emotionally stable home where we address our feelings when they arise and I regularly encourage those around me to celebrate the small victories in life in order to bring a greater joy to their lives. I would have never been in the position to positively affect those around me had I never taken the time to work through my concerns and struggles.
This is why counseling can have such a profound impact on society, if we can motivate people to work through their own hurt and struggles it will have a snowball effect throughout society. Education, poverty, climate change, racism, and many other social concerns can all be targeted through counseling. By bringing awareness to ourselves and our own strengths and weaknesses we can’t help but to make better choices. When you know better you do better and that’s what therapy is, knowing yourself better.
Counseling Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2015, from http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/counseling.aspx