Post Mortem

Counseling and myths

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/5/2020 1:09:54 PM IST

 Counselling has existed for many years and generations maybe since the beginning of civilization in various forms but informally. The catalyst for the formal session came into the picture highlighted by the work of Sigmund Freud, a famous neurologist and a psychoanalyst followed by many others. 

Professional counseling is of recent origin. In comparison to other parts of the Globe, India is still in the process of establishing Counseling as a profession. Many times counseling is used or is linked with counseling or guidance associated with some educational institutions or organizations and often Counselor’s misunderstood or misinterpreted.

There is a need to understand that Counselling is a professional relationship that happens between a trained Counselor and an individual/group that works together in various areas to help a person that may be going through developmental, situational, and short or long-term problems to achieve mental and emotional wellbeing.

Many times there is a sense of discomfort when it comes to visiting a Counselor or is being referred to a Counsellor as a part of the treatment. It may be because many of us are not aware of the services provided or the people misinformed about the many reasons for visiting a Counselor or maybe because of the stigma related to it. 

So to understand Counselling, let’s check out some of the very common myths and facts associated with counseling-

Myth- People who go for counseling are Crazy, mentally sick

Fact- It is not necessary and it’s wrong to categorize that people going for counseling as mentally sick or crazy. 

It is true that a person who is diagnosed with mental illness receive counseling to cope and manage their condition but is not exclusive only for them, anyone who is going through everyday problems in the various situation or adjusting to the new changes in their life can reach out for sessions which may prove beneficial in having multiple perspectives to reflect and understanding of the issues.

Myth –People receiving counseling are emotionally weak, immature, is under the influence of certain addictive substances.

Fact- It needs a lot of strength and courage to seek out professional assistance especially in the context of mental wellbeing the topic where lots of stereotypes are attached and in the session where the individual may be needed to share and present their vulnerabilities. 

Counseling is also a space where a person explores to enhance themselves or to find out their potentials, to have a better understanding of their plans. Therefore we see an individual who is mature and ready to know about themselves. As mentioned earlier counseling is not exclusive and is for everyone and not only for someone who is undergoing addiction issues. 

Myth - Counselling is just talking and it’s a waste of resources time, money, etc, etc...

Fact – It involves talking but the counselors are professionally trained individuals and they apply/ use certain techniques, skills, and approaches that are based on various scientific theories. 

Yes, talking can be carried out with family members and friends with no or less difficulty and not spending financial resources but in certain cases, the usual conversation may not help when it comes to objectively manage the situations, and also in certain cases there requires a space for confidentiality and sensitivity where experts and trained individuals will be needed. 

And also when it comes to financial spending, we are making an investment in our Health well-being which is important. 

Myth – Counseling will provide solutions and solve the problem that is being encountered 

Fact – Counseling is not about giving “Advice” or readymade solutions for the problems that a person may have/ is going through. It is about sitting down together in a therapeutic environment to gain greater insight and assist in deciding to manage and adapt to the concerns. The Counselor will play a role in facilitating gain awareness.

We also need to understand that no individuals are the same and that perception varies hence an individual’s experience with counseling may vary and there may be a time that initial encounter with a session was disastrous leaving with more questions and discomfort but it is always encouraged to try again counselling because at times it takes a visit of more than one Counselor to find our comfort in working out with the concerns. 

Nchumbeni Y Jungio, Counsellor  Unity College, Dimapur 

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