Counseling is for Normal People

While meeting with a group of students earlier this week it dawned upon me that someone should tell them that counseling is for normal people. The topic being discussed ended up revolving around asking for help and the students were sharing that it is really difficult for them to ask for help. When I said to them, “Counseling is for normal people,” the students were blown away. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and in honor of that, this post is dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health services and doing my part to help end the stigma (#endthestigma) about participation in mental health services. 

Most people often think that if you are going to counseling, or if you are seeing a therapist, there must be something terribly horribly wrong with you, and as a result, most people in therapy end up not sharing with others that they are indeed receiving counseling services. 

Why is it that we live in a society that so often frowns upon mental health services? 

We see the dentist twice a year to ensure that our dental health is good. We see our physicians at least once a year to ensure our physical health is in order. As women we see our gynecologist at least once a year to ensure that our sexual/reproductive system is doing well. So why is it that when we see a therapist we think that we need to keep this information to ourselves? Why is it that we think sharing this information will make others think we are crazy?

The truth of the matter is: Counseling is for normal people! And the more we talk about it, the less stigma society will have about it!

Yes, there are those with severe and persistent mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, who need to consistently participate in mental health services, but there are also those of us who live an otherwise very healthy and normal life and we just need some support as we make our way through life. 

Most people that I work with in my practice are highly educated, extremely successful, great problem solvers, and 100% fully functional in their day to day lives. 

Then why do they come to me? The reasons are many, including: To seek a deeper meaning and purpose in life; to heal past wounds; to learn new ways of relating; to learn coping tools for managing day to day stressors so that they can be happy and calm no matter what challenges life throws at them; to learn how to find balance in life; and the list goes on and on. 

So the next time someone around you says something about counseling being for crazy people, my hope is that you can look at them and say, “No, counseling is for normal people, people just like you and me.” Let’s spread awareness and do our part to end the stigma around mental health services. Then, perhaps one day, seeing your therapist will be just like another routine wellness visit. 

(In case you are interested, there’s an excellent website called ihaveatherapist.com that is targeted towards helping develop awareness and end the stigma. Feel free to check them out.)

If you are ready to make change, contact me today for your free initial phone consultation: 
408-502-6790.