What is counseling? People often mistake THERAPY for casual talking, but counseling is anything but an easy chat over coffee. Sitting and talking to a stranger that digs into your personal life can feel like an awkward interview. You might be asking yourself, Should I tell them everything? What are they thinking about me? Do I even like this person? All these thoughts are very normal responses to meeting with a counselor for the first time.
Counseling is a space for you. It is a place for you to say what you need to in the moment and find a sense of safety to unburden yourself. The counselor will adapt to what you need from counseling and be a guide to help you explore what is underneath the surface.
When I first started studying to be a counselor, a professor said, “We aren’t teaching people what to feel, we are teaching them how to feel again.” So often as adults, we learn to ignore, hide, and numb our feelings. We do this everyday. When an in-law has a snide remark, we hide our hurt to keep the peace. After a boss demands too much, we swallow our anger so we can keep paying our bills. We get accustomed to numbing ourselves with substances, food, scrolling, binge streaming. A callous forms and blocks our ability to feel.
So our job as a counselor is to help you dig deep, under the layers of defense mechanisms to cope, and we help you identify and begin to really feel again. Which is scary. Yes, we know it is very scary. Once you know the how and why of your emotions, we can work on how to cope without numbing. How to thrive instead of getting by.
When we work with clients, what may feel conversational is intentional. What feels like curiosity is a genuine desire to understand. And when we reflect and summarize your feelings, we want you to know we may not have been where you are, but we can empathize. Counseling is a process.
You would never expect a doctor to heal a wound or broken bone with a quick visit. Healing emotional wounds and smoothing away that callous takes time. The talking isn’t just chit-chat. As counselors, we are working to earn your trust and your respect. We are working to understand from the inside out so we can help you start to feel again.
To begin a process like this for yourself call Real Life Counseling at 231.622.5800 to get connected with a counselor who fits with you.