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Depression, anxiety, a bad break-up or loss of a job…those are just a few of the multiple scenarios that might drive somebody to see a counselor. But what about people whose lives are “right on track?” Did you know that many of them seek counseling as well? In fact, at least 30 million Americans have sought therapeutic help at some point in their lives. Yet for some reason, we live in a society that still stigmatizes those who choose to prioritize their mental health. Hopefully through research, medical advancements and counseling awareness, that stereotype will continue eroding.

Viktor Frankl once said, “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Life happens, and with it comes a rollercoaster of experiences. We’re able to exert control over some of these experiences, but for the most part, there’s only so much we can do. Instead of being a silent observer of your life, it’s important to remain an active participant. Seeking advice from a counselor is a great way to get a head start on this.

April is counseling awareness month, which might bring up a lot of questions. Is counseling all it’s cracked up to be? Can a counselor really help me? Make the most out of therapy by learning about the benefits of counseling and what a counselor can do for you:

Acquire positive coping skills

At some point in our lives, each one of us has experienced a handful of hardships. However, what each one of us didn’t do was learn how to handle them appropriately. In order to protect yourself during times of trouble, your psyche found a way to cope with life’s stressors. Maybe you dealt with them by shutting people out or silencing your voice. Maybe you poured one glass too many or began eating when you weren’t hungry. You might even have a negative coping mechanism without even realizing it.

A counselor can help equip you with the right tools to navigate through difficult periods of life. By working one-on-one with a therapist, the two of you can discover which positive coping skills work best for you. With practice, you can start replacing your negative coping mechanisms with your new positive ones. Learning how to cope appropriately is more than a short-term fix, as you will be equipped to handle future uncharted waters.

Talk it out

Sometimes the simple act of speaking your mind can be therapeutic. Sure, you can chat with your friends or family members, but do they allow you to be your authentic self? Or do you find yourself holding back? People see counselors for a reason. Their professional degrees allow them to offer unbiased opinions. Talking through your thoughts is also a great form of self-exploration and can help to clarify your thinking. You’d be surprised at what you still have left to learn about yourself!

New outlook on others

Once you get into a regular routine of seeing a counselor, you’ll experience some personal growth, changes, and development. What you might not realize is that you’ll also have the opportunity to see other people in a new light. The more that you learn about mental health and the more that you learn about yourself, the more you’ll be able to understand about others.  

Rewire your brain

Your brain consists of multiple neural pathways; some of which were given to you at birth, but many of which were created by you personally. For example: driving the same exact route to work every day. There are plenty of other roads to take, but by driving the same ones repeatedly, you’ve created a pattern (or neural pathway). While there is nothing wrong with this neural pathway, bad habits and negative coping skills are also formed in this the same way. Counseling is the best method to change negative thoughts, reconstruct neural pathways and rewire your brain.

Counseling awareness month is a great time to consider the benefits of counseling. If you need help, it’s there for you and if you’re feeling fine, counseling can act as a tune-up for your brain.

To read more about counseling and treatment or dealing with life transitions please, click here. If you have additional questions or are interested in setting up a complimentary 30-minute consultation or appointment, do call my office at (941) 306 1235 or send me an email at marilynhalls17@gmail.com