Los Angeles Christian Counseling
The idea of going to therapy can be a daunting thing, not least because you are talking to a relative stranger about deeply personal things. But be assured, Christian counseling is really not as scary as you might think! Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about what exactly therapy is, what the role of the therapist is, and how they can help.
It’s time to set the record straight and break down the stigma once and for all so that more people might take advantage of the blessing of professional Christian counseling.
8 Truths about Christian Counseling
With that in mind, here are eight things you need to know about therapy from a therapists’ perspective.
1. Christian counseling is for everyoneNo, therapy is not for “crazy people.” So many people avoid going to a therapist out of a misguided idea that only “weak” people need professional help. The reality is, no one is beyond having or developing complex issues that would be wisely dealt with by booking an appointment with a therapist.
As a result of the stigma that still surrounds Christian counseling and therapy, many wait until they are at crisis point before deciding to seek out professional help. There is no need for this! It is time for the misinformation surrounding therapy to be put to rest for good.
We must realize that we are all imperfect and in need of help at certain points in our lives. Therapy is a life-changing experience for many and can truly bring hope to those who are lost and in despair.
2. Therapists should not take sides but educate about what is and is not healthy
The role of a therapist is not to be an arbitrary judge of who is right and wrong. Instead, they are trained to be objective and measured in their responses, so they can help the person overcome their issues and improve their emotional health. Instead of making value judgements about what their client is saying, a therapist will seek to understand the core issue and tackle them in partnership with the client.When you are in crisis, it can be incredibly difficult to see clearly or view things logically as you attempt to move forward. This is where a therapist can be of help, encouraging you to gain clarity, perspective, and a sense of hope as you work through your issues. Instead of dictating what is good and bad for you to feel or do, a therapist will act as a mirror, reflecting back what you are putting across in order to help attain solutions.
Of course, it is always going to feel a bit strange when you first start talking to someone you are unfamiliar with about your deepest personal issues. However, when you realize that the therapist is there to help and not to judge, you will find that sessions can become vital, life-giving experiences.
3. There is no quick fix
Therapy will not work if you see it as a way to fix your problems quickly with minimal effort. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exist! Improvement can take time and requires a high level of commitment. Sometimes, it might take months for certain issues to reach the surface, ready to be fully dealt with. Therapists will constantly work on their approach to make it suitable for their particular clients’ needs.
In addition, clients are always advised to be honest in their communication. Without a high level of transparency, it can become very difficult to make any headway in therapy sessions. Therapy is not a one-way thing, clients must put in effort.
Too often, people think that their problems will be solved after a couple of weeks, and anticipate that everything will be fixed for them. Obviously, this is not the case. Therapists are not miracle-workers, but they can be wonderfully helpful if the client is willing to engage fully with the process.
4. Homework is integral
Yes, homework! You might think that you left this behind at high school, but therapy actually requires a fair amount of it as well. Therapists may issue small assignments most weeks, in order to assess your progress and help you figure out the path ahead. The homework will likely provide you with some additional insight into your own behavior and will help you see some of the patterns of thinking and behaviors that are holding you back.
While it won’t be really taxing work, it is worth expending time and energy to complete the assignments to the best of your ability. If you put a good level of effort into the work, you will get the most out of it.
strong>5. You have a lot of control over how the sessions go
Each client is different and will have a variety of differing needs. For example, while some people might respond well to being issued with worksheets, others will never think to take another glance at them in their own time.The therapist will likely suggest what they deem to be the best course ahead in terms of session structure and will share ideas on the methods that may assist the client. However, the client can have influence over this if they wish. They are allowed to say what they think and should not be shy about doing so.
The client must remember that they are there for their own benefit. If their therapist is suggesting something that they don’t feel will help them, they should point this out and seek a better way forward. Of course, there will be no real progress made unless there is a healthy dose of challenge, but the client must feel empowered and fully involved in the direction of their treatment.
6. Therapists are all different; find one that fits
Therapists are human beings, so they are all very different! Plus, some will have specific skills or be trained in certain specialist areas. With that in mind, it is important that clients choose a mental health professional who fits their needs. The therapist might be perfect on paper, but it is always worth arranging an assessment consultation to ensure that you “click.”
If you do not connect well with your therapist, it can be difficult to fully open up and so progress might be stunted or slow. Don’t worry if a particular therapist isn’t quite right for you, they won’t be offended if you tell them so. Remember, this arrangement is to benefit the client, and everything must be done to ensure you have a set-up that is going to work well.
7. Things sometimes get worse before getting better
Naturally, during therapy, you are likely to visit past experiences that may have, and may still be, very painful. This might mean that at the start, you might feel as if you aren’t moving forwards. But do not fear – things often feel worse before they get better. Over time, as you work through your issues with your therapist, you will start to see light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you just have to remain patient.Of course, if you have already adequately dealt with issues arising from the past, your therapist may suggest that you don’t need to dig them up and revisited them. However, if these issues have been simply laid aside and are negatively affecting your emotional health and life, it will be important that they are dealt with in the safety and security of professional therapy sessions.
In all these things, it is important to remember that your past does not define you and that through it may be difficult to work through at first, greater freedom is always the goal.
8. Therapists will not be shocked by anything
We all have a tendency to think our “stuff” will be the most shocking of all. Often times, clients think “you’re going to think I’m crazy,” if they disclose their deepest struggles, personal issues or warped thinking patterns. But don’t worry, therapists are not easily fazed. They have seen it all before.
Though the intricacies might be varied, the issues people face are often very similar to each other. We all experience hurt, pain and disappointment, and the emotional problems that can arise from these often affect us in a profoundly detrimental way.
Finding Therapy Near You
Hopefully, these eight key points have busted a few of the myths surrounding Christian counseling and its intended purpose. Therapy can be an incredibly helpful thing for those who are struggling through daily life while carrying heavy burdens. With the assistance of a trained professional, it is possible to find greater freedom as you figure out the root causes of the issues that you are facing.
Don’t attempt to face your problems alone, it is simply too difficult. We are all carrying baggage and could benefit from a helping hand every now and again. If you are struggling to push through each day and are struggling with deeply-rooted issues, simply reach out to a trained Christian counselor and begin on your journey to greater freedom. It might just be the greatest decision you have ever made!
“Family Gathering”, Courtesy of Daria Shevtsova, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Comfort Therapy”, Courtesy of Mindy Jacobs Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Conversation,” courtesy of Paulo Valdivieso, flickr.com, Creative Commons 2.0; “A Walk on the Beach at Sunrise”, Courtesy of Ibrahim Asad, Pexels.com; CC0 License