When you are in trouble it can be a good thing to get some help. None of us as human beings are impervious to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Sometimes stuff happens and it really upsets you or throws you off balance in life. Suddenly life may seem so hard and you feel as if you are unable to cope.
In these situations counselling can help. It is good just to sit down and talk through your problems so that you might gain a better perspective. When we are really upset about what is happening in our life we tend to shut down and are unable to see the bigger picture. This mean we forget how smart we really are and how we have found solutions to many situations in our lives.
Years ago when communities were much more closely knitted together we would have been able to go to an aunt or uncle to talk things through but society has become so fragmented and people so isolated today. You may not even want to talk to your relatives; it might be too embarrassing for you or your problems may even involve your relatives.
In the past your family or community would spend time sitting with you as you work through the things that you need to work through inside your mind. It is called sitting. When you are upset, someone just sitting with you can be amazingly comforting. Knowing that someone is giving you their exclusive, undivided attention is very healing.
Counsellors have no personal investments in your life so they are able to see your situation from a detached, objective point of view. This allows them to be able to feed back to you what is happening and suggest ways forward that you might take to get your life back on course. Your friends and relatives often have an over-investment in what they want you to do and are unable to give you objectivity.
Also counsellors are trained to be nonjudgmental about you, which is a great relief when you are talking to someone about the intimate details of your life. They may point things out to you but that is part of what they do to help you become aware of you circumstances.
Most of all, though, counsellors are professional listeners. When you talk about your life situation and how you feel and have someone listening to you, it helps. Human beings have this genetically programmed need to share their experience with others. Studies have shown that simply that act of sharing and being listened to be therapeutic when you are upset and confused. It helps you overcome that sense of hopelessness and gives you a new sense that what you experience is important and that you do matter. It gives you a sense of comfort and greater sense of safety once again when you are willing to fully engage with the counsellor so you can get the best that you can out of your sessions.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND first become involved in counselling activities at college in 1970. Since that time she has counselled tens of thousands of people to help them get over their difficult times in life. Tracie practises at the Australian Health and Education Centre, Sydney.