Many people, at one time or another, have thought about seeking a counselor for some help with their problems. What may keep people from doing just that, is the fear of the unknown. Many folks don't understand what counseling is or what it can do to help them. Other obstacles to counseling are how to find a counselor who will help and how a counselor's services are to be paid for.
Counseling is a process of helping people with their problems. Although counseling is known by many names, like "therapy" or "helping", it is really just an attempt to encourage a change in one's outlook and maybe some behavior, if necessary. A person who needs help comes to a counselor because he or she is unable to bring about a change, or figure out a solution to a problem, alone. Sometimes the person cannot define exactly what is wrong. He or she knows that something is not right -- "things are not going well", and simply needs help to more closely identify the source of the problem.
The counselor is considered an expert at helping people to clarify problems and find solutions to their troubles. The counselor is also considered an expert because he or she has mastered some generally accurate theories, laws or conceptual models that he or she can apply to the specific problems presented by the client.
The key word in counseling is "learn". Counselors are people who help their client to learn. Most clients come to counselors to learn how to change their present behavior and to do things differently. That may be to make better decisions and to solve their own problems in more effective ways. In other words, to be able to cope in more efficient ways and to be happy with the way they achieved a solution to their problem.
To find a counselor is really not very complicated. In fact, most doctors, teachers or clergy can probably give you the name of a person or an agency that can lead you to a counselor. The phone book is another way to find someone to help you -- just look under the heading of "Counselors".
The cost of counseling sessions can vary according to the agency or counselor involved. There are some programs which may be free and others that can accommodate your income by a sliding fee scale.
The obstacles to counseling may seem like many but the main one may be a fear of an unknown process. Call a counselor and talk with him or her on the phone. Ask questions! Some first sessions are very informal with just a presentation of what your problem is and what you can expect. Getting acquainted with the counselor and finding out information to best help you is the first step to getting rid of that fear of the unknown, and moving up to a happier and more content life.
Counseling can seem complex at times. Here are some things that counseling can and cannot do for you: