No doubt, when one begins to contemplate to attend counseling sessions, the idea may be met with some reluctance. Thoughts that may occur include:
- “I don’t want to talk to a stranger about all my personal problems, I have friends who can offer good advice.”
- “ Counseling costs too much.”
- “ It won’t help anyway.”
- “ Therapy is for crazy people...and I’m not crazy.”
These thoughts and feelings are real, however they should not stop someone from getting aid through life's tough times. While it is wonderful that we have friends even family members who will listen to our concerns, they are not trained with the skill sets to identify the scale of one's problems and offer techniques to move forward. Attending counseling offers a fresh perspective from a trained person with an unbiased viewpoint. In sessions, you are encouraged and allowed to vent your feelings, thoughts, opinions, and concerns while someone supportively listens and asks clarifying questions.
This ministry of counseling is made to be affordable to anyone, with fees that are comparatively lower than other organizations and are based on the counselee's income. If an individual in crisis deems counseling to be unhelpful from the beginning, there is a good chance it will be. However, if that person will determine within themselves that speaking about the issues and receiving reflective information can reduce the distress, the sessions will be successful!
Therapy can often carry a stereotyped perception that "If I need counseling, something is wrong with me!" That simply is not true, it does not mean that there are "mental issues." What it does mean is that there are choices to be made, hurdles to get over, and direction needs to be discovered. Athletes hire personal trainers, cars are taken to a mechanic because a "clunk" is heard, and billion dollar corporations hire outside assistance to help with choices to be made in order to make transitions and continue to succeed. Whether it is a marriage that needs coaching, or an individual facing anxiety or stress, entering into a counseling relationship may prove to be beneficial. Keep in mind that a counselor should not tell the counselee "what to do," but help that person decide what to do by exploring available options and offering new skill sets to cope with the presenting problem.
In short, anyone who is grieving of the death of a loved one, is experiencing the event of divorce, is suffering distress and/or concerns in the marriage or family relationship, is depressed for any reason or seemingly none at all, has had any type of trauma take place, or is seeking a new career due to high levels of stress may be in need of counseling from one who is trained to provide it. Also, dating or engaged couples often seek premarital counseling as well (see PREPARE/ENRICH). As you can imagine, there is a host of other dynamics and events that can lead to counseling.
This counseling is a ministry of a church, and the perspectives and principles are biblically based.
What to Expect
Upon the initial contact made by the prospective counselee, a brief conversation will take place to ensure the type of counseling that is offered, and questions will be answered. During the first session, the client's rights are conveyed as well as confidentiality concerns. This session is a type of "meet and greet" where the counseling relationship begins. An understanding of the presenting problem(s) is sought, fees are further discussed, and consent is explained and made.
Most likely, an assessment will be administered to the client that will be used throughout the counseling process. This process identifies the individual's temperament, and Temperament Therapy will be utilized. Possibly, the assessment is taken prior to the first session.