When I thought about individual counseling, my initial thought was that it was a complete waste of time and that there is nothing wrong with me – I’M GOOD. After all, no one I knew has gone to counseling to work out their “so called” individual problems or issues. I wasn’t falling apart socially or mentally, in my opinion. At that time in my life, I had some marital issues or problems with my wife, but like Biggie said, “don’t discuss ‘em”. Most people I knew just seemed to work their way through their issues or they were doing a great job of faking it – like I was doing. I really didn’t see how individual counseling could help me in any way, let alone, help my marriage. I remember having a casual conversation with my wife about going to counseling and of course, I wasn’t trying to hear it. After a very long discussion and laying out my list of stipulations, I agreed to go to counseling.
Okay, the day finally arrived for my first official session of ‘couch time’. I pulled up in the parking lot and I must have sat in the car for what seemed to be an eternity. I realized it was game-time. I went into the office, filled out some paperwork, answered some questions. Then, it was time to get in the game or in this case, hit the couch. The counselor was cool and from his approach, I could tell he could see my reluctance to open up and talk. He slowly worked his way into why I was there and into my personal life. Forty-five minutes into the hour-long session, I started to open up about my life. I was all over the map from my childhood to the present, back to my childhood and then, back to my marriage. Much to my dismay, the session was suddenly over. I felt like yelling, “NO!!! I am just getting started.”
I finally realized how receiving individual counseling could improve my marriage and other relationships. The counseling helped me, first and foremost, identify areas in my life and in my thought processes that were just, for a lack of better word, ‘OFF’. You see, it is different when someone you don’t know tells you that what you are saying or thinking is just another way or excuse to stay guarded or to shift blame to someone else.
Your friends are not going to tell you the real truth like a counselor would because, real talk, some of your friends or associates deal with similar issues. I’m sure you can admit that they will even co-sign on some of the crazy stuff you say out of your mouth.
If you are on the fence about going to counseling, let me push you of that fence and onto a therapist’s couch. I found counseling to be very rewarding and liberating. There is no shame in taking positive steps to improve yourself. Stop hiding behind what you think: you’re good and that counseling is only for people with issues. So brother, I pose the question to you once again, “Counseling, who needs that?”