There are many reasons why someone might be hesitant to speak with a mental health professional. Let's address some of those concerns and see if counselling is right for you.
July 21, 2021
There are many reasons why someone might be hesitant to talk about their problems with a mental health professional. Opening up to someone that you hardly know can be scary and you might question if counselling is worth the money. You might question if you are even someone that really “needs” counselling. Although it might seem easier to just stuff your problems down and ignore them, this can cause you many challenges with your mental health down the line. Seeing a counsellor can help.
Here are some of the reasons one might be hesitant to see a counsellor and some of the reasons that counselling can be beneficial:
Fear of opening up to a stranger. “I would rather just talk to a friend.”
The idea of opening up and having a stranger know something intimate about you might feel a bit nauseating. You may be afraid that what you tell your counsellor could be shared. These emotions are valid, but there is nothing to fear.
A friend can be a great support to have but they are not always capable of giving the support that you need. Counsellors are trained professionals. They hold to a strong standard of non-judgment. They recognize the fear of being analyzed and will not judge what their clients bring up in session. They genuinely want to help you organize the messier parts of your story. Counsellors are legally bound to keep what you say in session secret and confidential. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a supportive person in your life, that is not in your friend group or family, who is not affected by your problems to provide an outside perspective.
“Other people have it worse than I do. My problems aren't bad enough to go to counselling.”
In this world there are a lot of hurting people and when we find someone facing serious issues, it can make our problems feel small in comparison. It can be easy to think our problems aren't “real” problems and are not worthy of being addressed.
Although you might feel like your situation is "not that bad", that doesn’t mean your problems are not real. If your issue is something that is causing you distress or having a negative effect on your life, it is worth addressing. Even if it is just a few sessions, you may find that you feel a lot better afterward and it can save you weeks, or even years, of distress.
“Going to a counsellor is for the weak.”
Sometimes we are just embarrassed because we don’t want to be seen as vulnerable and weak. It is not uncommon to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about mental health and personal issues.
There may be stigma surrounding mental health challenges for some people, however, we know that every 1 out of 5 Canadians today will experience a mental health issue regardless of their age, gender, income level, education, or cultural background. It is common to experience mental health issues and it does not make you weak when you address them. Your brain is a body part just as much as your legs and arms - if one of your legs broke you would see a doctor. The brain is no different in that it can experience challenges and everyone goes through rough patches in life where they will need support. Counselling can help us learn how to be healthier, stronger versions of ourselves.
Bad previous experience with a mental health worker
Unfortunately, bad experiences with a counsellor or other mental health worker are not unheard of. You may have found a previous mental health worker just was not that helpful, or worse, may have created a negative or traumatic experience. It does happen, and when it does, it can be very discouraging.
One of the best ways to avoid this situation is to make sure that your counsellor is qualified, licensed, and registered to practice in your province. If you are seeing a counsellor and you find that they are not very helpful, it might just mean that you are not a good fit for each other. In this case, it is alright to ask for a referral elsewhere to another counsellor that you feel comfortable with. If you have had a previous bad experience with a counsellor, it is a good idea to share this with your new counsellor so they can adjust their methods to suit your needs.
Investing in one's mental health is never a bad investment. Here at Dimension Health & Wellness, we have caring Registered Clinical Counsellors and Registered Social Workers who offer in-person or online appointments. Our mental health team are licensed and registered professionals who are committed to helping you live your best life. Book your appointment today and begin your journey to wellness.