10 Things Going to Counseling Says about You

20111108 Counselling and Development 354
Back in September I asked you, our MM readers, to complete a survey that would tell me a bit more about you. One of the things the survey seemed to indicate was that the majority (89.4%) of you are currently not seeing a counselor for marriage or personal issues (which could be a good or bad thing, depending on the reason for not going to a counselor!) and 62.6% of you indicated that you’ve never gone to a counselor.*

This data concerned me.

Now, I don’t want to make the same mistake that fellow blogger and MM anniversary book winner, Joe Pote railed against in his recent and very interesting post, No More Sermon Stats, where he points out that some pastors have used statistics for ineffective, irrelevant and perhaps deceptive reasons to bolster their message and agenda.

But this does give me pause, because this could quite possibly be a fairly accurate snapshot of you.

And if it is, or is even somewhat true, then let me give you some food for thought—because I think seeking the help of a counselor or life-coach has gotten a bad rap!

10 Things Going to Counseling Says about You – 

  1. You are humble enough to examine the areas where you got off track and/or need help.
  2. You are insightful enough to see that you need help from an objective and trained third-party.
  3. You are proactive enough to do the hard work of peeling back layers that have weighed your life and relationships down. (Hebrews 12:1)
  4. You are confident enough in your self-worth to allow a skilled and godly counselor to speak truth into you.
  5. You are realistic enough to know you need accountability to a trusted counselor, because without it you won’t know how to get to where you want and/or you’ll give up before you make any significant progress.
  6. You are vulnerable and authentic enough with yourself and others to admit and embrace your humanity and frailty.
  7. You are smart enough to invest in your life and relationships—knowing the hard work of going to a counselor will pay huge dividends in your marriage and other relationships.
  8. You are brave enough to go towards the pain.
  9. You are faith-filled enough to allow God to redeem and heal your pain through the counseling process. (Proverbs 15:22)
  10. You are someone I admire and trust—because I know you aren’t interested in hiding yourself or “playing god” any longer.

 

What would you add to this list?

 

What fears do you have about going to a counselor?

 

If you’d like to know more about my life-coaching services, you can check out my coaching site here. I offer a 43% discount to first-time clients (on a 3 month package) who mention “Messy Marriage” to me in an email or on my site’s contact form. And the great thing about life-coaching is that you don’t have to live near me to take advantage of my services!

*The full listing of statistics under this issue are:
36.4% – I have never gone to a counselor.
34.8 % – I have gone to a counselor for issues not related to my marriage.
36.4% – I have gone to a counselor for marriage issues in the past.
10.6% – I am currently going to a counselor for personal issues.
10.6% – I am currently going to a counselor for marriage issues.

 

Photo by Concordia University

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  • JosephPote

    Hey, thanks for the fresh blog post fodder, Beth! JK! 😉
    Actually, it’s refreshing to see stat’s used as they should be…in a study pertinet and specific to the audience, with full disclosure of both sources and conclusions. Good job!
    Over the years I’ve spent a fair amount of time in counselor’s offices…and that doesn’t count the resources of two of my sisters who are professional counselors. I highly recommend using a good counselor for a variety of life circumstances. Your list is right on mark.
    Thanks and God bless!

    • Thanks so much, Joe. I appreciate your kind words. I agree that a good counselor is invaluable at times. I’ve been on both the giving AND receiving end of counseling. And the times I’ve received it have been hard, but oh so powerful in opening my eyes to blind spots.

  • Darby Dugger

    Excellent Post! I actually went to see my Counselor last week! I have been seeing her since I turned 18. This past week I was sharing a marital struggle and I love that she helped me see things from my husband’s perspective. She mentioned things I had never stopped to consider and thus, gave me a new way of viewing our conflict. She also helps me peel back the layers of my own feelings and encourages me that troubles can bring beauty. I love her. I need her. Excellent Post.

    • It’s always great to hear that a perspective was shifted and widened for the better, Darby. And I’m glad you’ve been willing to face the pain of pulling back layers. I know from my own counseling experience, there’s a freedom that comes from facing “the giants” in our lives–especially with an accountability partner who has our back! Thanks for weighing in, my friend!

  • Mia

    Dear Beth
    I have found that women in general don’t find going to a godly counselor difficult, but the husbands are quite another story. They need to eat a lot of humble pie before they agree to go and then another batch of these pies before they really open up! Keep up the great work and please share some more holiday photos!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • Yes, in fact, I was thinking of several men I know who’ve struggled to take this next step as I was writing this. But I have found that women are not immune to this kind of fear. I just hope this relieves some who are worried about how going to a counselor will look to others. Thanks, dear Mia, for stopping by!

  • Very comprehensive list Beth. When we are humble and wise enough to seek help (In the right place and persons) instead of covering up issues that can destroy our marriages, then we open ourselves up to the help available.

    • Yes, it’s important, as you’ve said, Ugochi, to go to the right places for counsel. That’s a subject for a whole ‘nother post! But I certainly hope people will take the time to research who they should turn to for help. Thanks for dropping in to say “hi” and adding to the conversation, my friend!

  • Kathryn

    Great post! I have been seeing a counselor for two years now for some past issues and for anxiety. It’s really changed my life. I wished I had not been so afraid to go and realized what a step in the right direction it was!

    • I’m so glad to hear that you have found it helpful, Kathryn. There’s no time like the present to get down to the business of unpacking the baggage we ALL bring into our marriages. Thanks for encouraging me, sweet friend!

  • Kim Adams Morgan

    Hello, friend. I love this post. One should never be afraid to ask for help, whether that help is a friend, a pastor, or a counselor. I have gone in the past at different times when I’ve needed to work things out; it helped me so much. Perspective and wisdom from others is so powerful. It should not be underestimated.

    • Yes, I’m right there with you, Kim–acknowledging that counseling can really make the difference in our lives. I’ve gone to a counselor at several points in my life regarding multiple issues and have found it has given me the traction I needed to get back on track in whatever area I was struggling in. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, my friend!

  • Amanda

    Amen! I’m totally biased because I’m currently training to be a Marriage and Family Therapist but I personally believe that everyone can benefit from counseling- even if it’s just to learn some pointers for stress management! Thanks for bringing this touchy topic to light.

    • Yes, that’s so true, Amanda. I am of the same opinion, that everyone can benefit from counseling. Every one of us goes through times that are confusing or stressful and a counselor can really help to strengthen us and open our eyes to potential land mines. Congrats on pursuing a great career! I’ll pray for you in that exciting and meaningful endeavor!

  • I love all these points Beth, # 2 stands out – sometimes we don’t know when we need that outside perspective. it takes God to knock out some that ignorance and give us a good look at our heart and the issue. (At least that was the case for me : ) Thanks for sharing this truths.

    • Yes, Ngina. Whenever someone says they’ve got something all figured out and don’t need help, I know that they are headed for trouble. I’m just glad that the stigma of going to counseling is lessening from what it was at one time. Thanks for you sweet words to me. I appreciate the encouragement!

  • Mary

    Beth,
    I love your ten points of what counseling says about you. The stigma that so many believe is attached to counseling have been blown away by your positive insight into the benefits of counseling. Thank you for your post today!
    Mary

    • Well, thanks so much for your kind words to me, Mary. BTW, I mailed your book just yesterday. I hope you enjoy it, my friend!

  • This list is empowering. I’m definitely sharing it with a few friends in my life who need to hear this. As always, thanks, Beth.

  • Nan

    I almost forgot to link up again until I saw your email! I have been forgetting to link up to some of my link parties lately. I also missed several Monday parties, lol!

    I like #7 (I like them all) because marriage IS an investment! It’s an investment in ourselves, our spouse, our children and our God!

    Today is the 37th wedding anniversary of a gal who came to me a few years ago, telling me that earlier that evening she had told her husband she wanted a divorce.

    We talked and she shared how unhappy she was and why. It wasn’t earth shattering. She just wanted him to be more romantic, more this, more that.

    I said “What if you just give up your right to be happy in your marriage?” Sometimes we are so concerned about being happy ourselves that we don’t question whether our spouse is happy. We look to our needs and don’t wonder if we’re meeting his needs.

    Anyway, she went home and sought the Lord and determined to invest in her marriage. Tonight she shared that there was no other man she wanted to be with and she was so in love with him. Praise the Lord!

    Anyway, lovely, wise post and thanks for hosting again this week, my friend!

  • I have never gone to a counselor. Unless that includes my pastor? Anyhow, this was a good post and I found the stats you shared interesting. Thanks for hosting your linkup.

  • rboerner

    I was very scared to go to the counselor for the first time because I saw it as weak and that people were going to judge me and think “Oh, she must have some serious problems” Thankfully I had friends to encourage me and remind me that it wasn’t a sign of weakness. Best thing I ever did for myself. God can’t begin to heal us until we allow Him to!