This is the year…or is it?
I think it can be if you go see a counselor.
A new year is dawning and goals are being made, life changes being imagined.
I’d like to suggest that the key to seeing those goals accomplished might be you seeing a counselor.
Last year I sought out a counselor for a few reasons. My wife and I needed an outside source to help us see some things a bit more clearly. We both had some changes at work that we wanted to process through with a qualified professional and we were both in a season of life where we just needed some encouragement.
I am so grateful for the Church – the body of Christ. Some reasons are obvious but one subtle reason for my gratitude has been a shift I’ve noticed over the last decade or so – Christians are speaking out loudly about the need and help that professional counseling provides. In doing so, pastors and other notably visible leaders are helping to shatter the negative stigma counseling has carried for far too long.
Seeing a counselor doesn’t make you weak. It proves you’re strong.
A few notes:
Pastors are not counselors.
I’m a pastor and am trained for a lot of situations – but serving as a professional counselor is not one of those areas. I am not qualified or capable. If you find a pastor who claims to be without the required credentials and education/experience, run. As a pastor, I can provide spiritual direction and some sense of general wisdom – but most of my job relationally is simply to be with them and remind/help them to see that God is with them.
Counseling is affordable
We had to adjust our budget to accommodate for the expense but we didn’t have to make a drastic change to afford counseling. We just stopped wasting some money. When people complain about not being able to afford counseling my first response is usually, “How can you afford not to get help?” Then, I ask if they have cable or satellite TV service. One of those two responses usually solves the problem.
However, if the financial burden sincerely is great, there are options. Churches may be able to help defer the cost and in my town there are fantastic counseling options with income-based payment options. Basically, there is simply no good excuse.
4 Reasons to See a Counselor This Year
1.) To help you see blind spots.
Sometimes all you need is an outside perspective with the skills to see into your situation. It is easy for us to get tunnel vision in certain areas of life and fail to see a simple solution because it might not be as obvious to us and it is to a counselor. A lot of answers to our problems lie just outside of our sight. Counselors can help you see the blind spots.
2.) To be encouraged for what you’re doing right.
As long as you’re making a sincere, full effort, counseling should never feel like a beat-down. It can feel emotionally draining but that part if often necessary. Think about whatever issue you’re struggling with right now. Maybe your marriage is strained or you’re struggling with feeling inadequate as a parent – maybe you are still dealing with some hurt in your past. Whatever it is, imagine how good it would feel if you could share that part of your life with someone and be encouraged that it might not be as bad as you have made it out to be.
Maybe you’re doing more right than you realize.
Some of my favorite moments of counseling have been receiving encouragement for what I didn’t realize I was already doing well. That give you motivation to work on whatever you’re currently not doing well.
3.) To achieve better work/life balance.
Everyone says they want this but nobody really wants to make it happen.
Too many lazy people talk about work/life balance but they’ve never really learned how to work too hard in the first place. Too many workaholics talk about work/life balance but have no real intentions to stop making work an idol in their life.
Seeing a counselor this year can help you actually achieve work/life balance because they can help you achieve what matters most.
Counselors tell you the truth about you.
If you’re lazy, they’ll tell you. If you need to stop and rest, they’ll tell you.
4.) Strengthen the most important relationships in your life.
This is the best reason to go to counseling. Whether it’s your spouse, kids, or your parents – these are the most important people in your life. Or at least they can be. Maybe counseling is just what you need to repair or renew those relationships.