1.    Counseling is only for people who are “mentally ill” – TRUTH: While some people who seek counseling do so for diagnosed mental illness, this is not the case for everyone. Many people who are experiencing “normal” life transitions, stress, grief, relationship difficulties, divorce, or a host of other life challenges may benefit from counseling.
2.    I’ve tried counseling before and it doesn’t work so it will never work for me – TRUTH: Another way to look at this is to compare counseling to a physical illness. If your doctor prescribed a treatment for you, say an antibiotic, and it didn’t work, would you give up? Throw in the towel? Call it a day? Probably not. You might seek other treatments, right? Same with counseling. If you have been to a counselor in the past and you were not satisfied, try another, and another, until you find one you are comfortable with.  Counselors employ different techniques, have different specialties and approaches, and work with different populations. You have to be comfortable with someone in order to share personal information and work together to see the results you want.
3.    My counselor will put me on medication – TRUTH: Contrary to popular belief, counselors do not prescribe medication. Medication, if needed, can only be prescribed by a doctor.  Counselors have specialized training in techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or behavior modification, to assist in improving various symptoms and behaviors.
4.    A counselor will tell me what to do and how to live my life – TRUTH: Counselors provide assessment of the problems you present, listen to your concerns, and assist in developing goals and a treatment plan that is individualized to your specific needs.
5.    Counseling is expensive. TRUTH: Many health insurance plans now cover counseling, making access to services easier and more affordable. You may also be able to receive free counseling sessions by accessing your employer’s EAP (Employee Assistance Program) services. Many people can receive 3-6 sessions at no cost.  Some counselors also offer to provide services on a sliding scale, payment plan, or at reduced fees depending on your situation.