Counseling can be a wonderful journey of self-discovery and healing, given that it is conducted by the right person and in the right way. Sadly, there are many myths and misconceptions that both counsellors and clients hold which can be really damaging to the process. Please read on below as we dispel some of them.
1.Anyone can be a counsellor: There are cases of people with 2-month courses doing counselling and it is sadly rampant in India. But truly, a counsellor should have a degree in human development or psychology, and at least a master at that too. If you are unsure about a professional, ask them about their qualification. It is your right to know.
2.If the service is cheap, it is no good: This is not true. Many community centres and NGOs do provide free services and are good too.
3.If someone is charging a lot, they must be good: Similar to the one above, there are many quacks charging high fees. So money is not the only criteria.
4.The counsellor’s job is to give me advice: The counsellors job is to help you reorganize your emotional material and help you build skills so that you can solve your own problems. They are not advisors and it is wrong for them to advise you.
5.I have to be mad to go for counselling: Counseling is not meant only for people with psychological troubles, but even for relationship issues, work performance, academic achievement, stress management and so on.
6.Going for counselling means I am weak: Does seeking medication for cold mean you are weak? No, it is only rational and clever to save yourself at the right time and seek help
7.Counselors make you dependent on them: On the contrary, a good counsellor helps you build skills so that you can live your life more independently.
8.Counseling or therapy goes on for years: This is not true. Although some deep-seated issues require longer intervention, most problems can be sorted with briefer formats of therapy.
9.You have to take medicines when in therapy: You don’t ‘have to’ do anything in therapy, and that’s the beauty of it. The choice lies with the client. The counsellor may work in adjunct with a doctor who may prescribe medication, but it is up to you to want to take it or not.
10.Counselors can prescribe medication: Unless the counsellor has a medical degree, they cannot prescribe.
11.Clients are passive in the therapy process: Clients have to be highly active for therapy to work as they are constantly building skill set for themselves.
12.Only female counsellors are good: Although many more women are seen in the profession, if a person has the right skills, qualification and experience, even males are good.
13.The older the counsellor, the better they are: Although experience is a helpful aspect, sometimes, age can make people rigid so there is no hard and fast rule here.
14.Counselors can be our friends outside of therapy: It is better to not be friendly outside of the counselling relationship as boundaries need to be maintained for effective therapy.
15.Counseling is just ‘talking’: Counseling is a deep process of uncovering and reorganizing emotional material for clarity and problem solving.
16.Friends and family members should do counselling for each other: Family and friends cannot impartially see each other’s strengths and weaknesses like a counsellor, nor do they have relevant training, so they should not officially counsel.
17.Online counselling is not reliable: A lot of reliable online counselling options are robust and safe.
18.Counseling is only for disorders or sickness: you can go for counselling even to get better at certain skills, e.g., divergent thinking skills.
19.Counselor will use my secrets against me: A good counsellor will keep what is discussed in the therapy room within the therapy room and never use it against you.