April is Counseling Awareness Month!
What is counseling? Counseling is the process of working with a counselor or therapist on resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties. Many people believe that there has to be something wrong with you to seek counseling, or that something big has to happen. In reality, counseling can benefit everyone, no matter what is happening in their life at the time.
As a counselor, I have seen a variety of clients, with a myriad of needs that brought them to my office, from adolescents struggling in school to adults going through life changes to senior citizens coping with the aging process. There is no right or wrong reason for seeking out counseling. Counseling may be described in one word, and that word is help. Everyone could benefit from getting some help in their busy lives. Here are some other benefits that counseling can have.
- Self-Exploration and Discovery: Counseling gives you the opportunity to look deeply at yourself and learn about yourself in the process. One thing I have always told clients is this. “You can’t go backwards. You will never be the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, even a day ago. Things happen everyday that change us as humans.” Counseling is the process of discovering who you are now and who you want to be moving forward.
- Effective Ways of Coping: One of the biggest things that is accomplished in the counseling process is learning effective ways of coping or managing stressful things. For example, you find that you have trouble concentrating on tasks at work and at home. This causes high levels of stress for you. Through counseling you can work on developing coping skills that can help improve your concentration and make you more productive, lowering your stress.
- Providing Support and Validation: As a counselor, I strive to ensure that clients walk out of my office feeling heard and supported. This is something that we may not get from people in our everyday lives. People have biases, some people may look at the situation you are in and say, “you are over-reacting.” When in reality, the struggle you are experiencing is very real and distressing for you. Having a safe place and a safe person in counseling to talk to about things that others may judge you for, is very comforting.
- Managing Emotions: Let’s be honest, emotions can be a pain. Who wants to feel sad or anxious or angry? These emotions and many others are a very real part of our lives, and they do serve a purpose. As a counselor, I teach clients how our emotions can impact thoughts and behaviors and how this can lead to some unhelpful ways of managing. I also teach clients about the wide variety of emotions and how to navigate them into serving their purpose versus being a roadblock. When you learn these things, you see just how helpful emotions can be when they are managed effectively.
- Guidance: Counseling can help you through some of the most difficult times in your life. Maybe you are experiencing grief, maybe going through a divorce, or trying to navigate the changes of a global pandemic. Despite what may be happening, it’s easy to feel lost, like you don’t really know who you are or where you’re going. As a counselor, I see this often. The process of counseling can help promote feelings of hope, encouragement and provide motivation for the future ahead and get you back on the right track.
Counseling can have endless benefits for someone. The process of counseling is person-centered, meaning that it is personalized to you and your needs. This ensures that you get the benefits that you need from the process. As a counselor, my goal is to help you achieve yours. There is no better feeling as a counselor to genuinely help someone who is struggling and see them make positive changes. Because ultimately the changes you make through the counseling process, will give you a renewed sense of self and success.
To start on your counseling journey, give us a call here at Spectrum Health and Human Services and we are more than happy to assist you.
Ashley Pajor, LMHC