Counselling is a type of “talking therapy” that provides people with a safe and confidential environment, where they can discuss their issues, problems,feelings,etc. that they may have encountered. Counselling is a process that gives people a chance to explore their own feelings and thoughts in greater depth, so that they can finally move on from the issues begging them down and bring about a positive change.
Counselling makes people more independent by simply helping and guiding them in finding the answers they seek, on their own, which has a more lasting positive effect on the person’s life.
Pros and Cons of Counselling
|Helps to diagnose the actual problem||Breach of privacy is possible|
|Understanding the underlying issue||Without proper counselling effects can be negative|
|Teaches the proper coping mechanisms||Initially there are no apparent effects|
|Provides the opportunity to really open up||Healing process is very long|
|The patient gets someone who listens||Choosing the perfect counselling program can be exhausting|
|Removes the feeling of constant guilt||Patient can get overly attached with the counselor|
|Seeing things in a new perspective||Not everyone can accept who they are|
|A plan for the future|
Advantages of Counselling
- Diagnosis –
Counselling is one of the best methods of attempting to diagnose the actual cause of the mental health problems that a person is going through. The causes can be anything from negative thinking, anxiety, depression, trauma, etc. and it is important to determine the problem so that the patient can act on it.
- Understanding –
Most of the time people who are experiencing mental health issues do not even realise that they are actually having problems and even if they do, they are often confused as to why they are having them. The first step to a cure is understanding that you are having problems.
- Coping Mechanisms –
Once the patient realises that he/she is actually having problems and the root cause of the problems is found, the next step is to cope with them. The ways to manage the problems may be unknown to the patient. Counselling helps the patient learn and practice dealing with his/her problems.
- Opening up –
One of the most important steps in curing mental health issues is talking about them. Talking about his/her situation not only helps the patient to detect the problematic signs but makes the patient feel lighter as they do not have everything bottled up inside. It acts as a release.
- Someone who listens –
Sometimes for a person who is dealing with mental health issues, it is very important to have a person who listens to their problems. Sharing your internal problems with another person helps in the healing process. This is one of the most important jobs of counselors. Only then can they help the patient.
- Less Guilty –
Patients with mental health issues often end up blaming themselves a lot. They can blame themselves for their own predicament and even feel guilty for crying after being severely hurt by the issues. Counselling helps patients to realise that it was not their fault and however they coped with the pain was absolutely fine.
- Seeing things differently –
Curing a person’s mental health issues, requires having a change in mindset. Through counselling a patient gets to learn other people’s views on the issue and on life. That helps them to understand the thoughts and feelings that were troubling them and finally look at experiences(past or present) and life, in a different light.
- Finally getting healed –
Unlike physical injuries it is very hard for a patient to realise if they are actually healing. Mental health issues can make the patient feel hopeless inside. With repeated counselling, the person slowly realises how their views and perceptions have changed and then finally they can feel they have moved on from the troubling times.
- Future Plans –
Mental health issues have a tendency of recurring, and even though the cause may be different the external markers, remain quite similar. Counselling gives the patient a future plan, in case the issues crop up again and even teaches them to identify if they are having any mental health issues at all in future.
Disadvantages of Counselling
- Privacy breach –
Patients talk to counselors, and counselling groups, in confidence, and privacy is one of the major factors that helps them to open up about their problems. But the fact remains that a patient’s story can get leaked outside be it by their fellow patient(s) or in some rare cases, their counselor(s).
- Proper Counselling –
This is extremely important as every human being is different both in body and mind. So every patient reacts to the same counselling and counselor differently. In case a person receives counselling which they cannot accept, it might actually have the adverse effect, making them more mentally ill than they were before the counselling.
- Initial Period –
Counselling, on average, requires a substantial amount of time, before the patient can actually feel it’s effects. This poses a big problem, as it is common occurrence for patients attending counselling, to get impatient and lose faith in the counselling process and stop returning to counselling. This would leave the patient’s problems unattended.
- Healing time –
Counselling is a continuous process. It is not like a pill which you can take to solve your problems. It takes a whole lot of time for the patient to be completely cured of his/her mental health issues, in which time the patient must come back regularly to the counselling.
- Choosing –
This becomes an important factor even before starting the counselling process. For counselling to work, the patient needs to feel comfortable in the counselling space. That means choosing a counselor who the patient is comfortable with along with a program which the patient feels will help him/her the most.
- Attachment –
In their vulnerable state, the patient can easily develop a severe attachment with the person who, at that point in time, is providing them with a direction in life – the counselor. The patient may tend to overlook that the counselor is simply a professional, like a doctor, who is simply helping with his/her mental “injuries”.
- Acceptance –
Accepting who you are is an important part of the whole healing process. However, new truths about your own self can be very hard for a person, driving them crazy during the counselling process. Counselling can also show a patient traits of themselves, unknown to them, which they might not be ready to accept.
Counselling has its own drawbacks to it, but in the present day mental health issues as a whole is a very real problem and scarily they only seem to be on the rise. Counselling, being an effective form of treatment for mental health issues, must be looked at by patients as a very important option.
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I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.