Myths about Counseling

  • Counseling is only for crazy people
  • Reality: Individuals often struggle with problems in a specific area and seek personal growth and development. Stressors and difficulties are a part of life & unavoidable for all people.

  • Counseling is only for problems that are severe
  • Reality: Most individuals seek counseling for daily issues. It is true that counseling can be helpful for individuals suffering from severe problems. However, attending counseling when problems are mild to moderate can prevent problems from becoming severe.

  • Seeking counseling is a sign of weakness
  • Reality: It takes courage to explore sensitive feelings and painful experiences. Individuals who enter counseling are taking a first step in resolving their difficulties. Going to counseling is a way of taking control and helping yourself.

  • A counselor is a stranger & hence cannot help me
  • Reality: Not knowing you personally allows the counselor to be unbiased, objective and non-judgmental of you. A friend or a family member would often have their own opinions or suggestions of what might be right for you, which is helpful information. However, when you wish to focus on and arrive at your own answers, speaking to a counselor helps you get an impartial and deeper understanding of yourself and your situation.

  • Counselors just sit there, nod, and stay silent
  • Reality: Counselors are active and engaged, use questions and interventions to help you move towards your goals.

  • Counseling takes forever
  • Reality: The length of counseling depends on the client's goals, motivation, and the intensity of the problems brought into counseling.

  • Everyone will know I'm seeing a counselor
  • Reality: Counselors our bound by professional ethics to protect your confidentiality and privacy both during counseling and after counseling ends. Only in extreme cases where someone is posing a threat towards self or others, their family members may be informed required information. Outside of these circumstances, information can only be shared if you share it.

  • Counseling will change who I am forever
  • Reality: Counseling will not require you to make changes you do not like, that you are not ready for, or that go against your beliefs and values. It is important to keep in mind that you are in charge of the change that you make.

  • If I go to a counselor, I will be asked to visit a psychiatrist.
  • Reality: If your counselor thinks that medication may be helpful, s/he will talk to you about it. If you want to explore this option further, your counselor will refer you to a clinician who can provide more assessment and, if appropriate, medication. Otherwise, medications are not required to be taken.

  • The counselor cannot understand me unless s/he has had similar experiences or is of the same background
  • Reality: Individual reactions to the same event or experience vary widely, but basic human emotions are the same across individuals and cultures. Counselors are trained to be sensitive to and respectful of individual differences, including gender, race/ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

  • The counselor will tell me how to "fix" my problems
  • Reality: It takes time depending on the intensity of the problems & the number of problems. Although many people feel some relief after only a couple of sessions, counseling will not provide a quick fix to your problems.

  • Counseling doesn't work.
  • Reality: There is vast amount of research that documents the benefits of counseling and therapy. Even if you have had an unsuccessful counseling experience in the past, it may be worth trying again.

  • Will the counselor draw out my deep dark secrets?
  • Reality: The counselor will only know what you choose to share with him/her. You could decide what you want to share, as and when, you feel comfortable with your counselor.