Eight Signs You Need Counseling

Just the word, counseling, often has a negative effect on people, I have noticed.  If you want to cause a defensive reaction in someone, suggest gently and without any judgment they would benefit from counseling.  Immediately they hear only something is wrong with me. Then wait for the litany of various reasons why counseling will not work or has not worked in the past.  Counseling is too expensive, time-consuming, and doesn’t help them.  They know someone who went to counseling and boy, did that counselor mess them up.  I have even heard the excuse that God, as our Wonderful Counselor, did not endorse other counseling, despite the many verses in Proverbs about how a wise man surrounds himself with counselors and seeks out wisdom with his whole strength.  counseling

But I have benefitted greatly from the counselors in my life, and those who I send to counseling often benefit greatly as well.  So here is a list of very human conditions that I regularly see counseling help alleviate.  If you suffer significantly from one of the following, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that counseling might be of some benefit.

  1. Compulsive Behavior. This one seems like a gimme, but for some reason, many sufferers often exclude their particular behavior from the list of compulsive behaviors.  Sure, drug addicts need counseling, but I can give up pornography, overeating, video games, and/or other risky behaviors any time I want, I hear people say.  Some people do, I am sure.  But if you really want to be free, having a professional in your corner helps a lot.  They might even know some things you don’t.  After all, they might have learned something in all those years of practice and education.  Just saying.
  2. Unresolved Emotion. We place a lot of faith in time as a healer. But sometimes it isn’t.  Grief, fear of commitment, anxiety, impulsivity, and self-loathing are just a few emotions that can feel like a tsunami.  If you feel out of control of your emotional weather patterns, why not call in the Coast Guard?  Counselors are great at locating and teaching you to prevent the underwater earthquakes that cause those tsunamis.  The whole idea is to get you safely onto the shore.
  3. Being Stuck. Are you stuck in your job, in your relationships, in your life?  Feeling trapped can have a profound effect on your life.  We cannot always see our lives from a bird’s eye view.  Sometimes we need someone else to give it a go.  Maturity is not easy to achieve.  Every living thing needs external input to Flowergrow.  So let a counselor fertilize your fallow life.
  4. Others have suggested it to you. If you have people in your life who irritate you continually by singing the you should try counseling song, then you need to get with the groove.  Many of us human beings suffer from what is called a lack of insight awareness.  This means that you cannot see yourself and the effect you have on others clearly.  If there are people in your life who love you enough to risk your anger by suggesting that you see a professional counselor, these two things are probably true.  You are lucky enough to have people who love you, and you are hurting yourself and them in some way.  Just do it.
  5. Repetitive Thoughts. Trapped in a cage inside your own brain?  The brain is complicated.  Best call in a locksmith who has the combination to the lock keeping you a prisoner.  Repetitive thoughts are dangerous and miserable.  Why not take the chance that maybe you can get free?
  6. No Emotion. If you feel nothing, it is probably not because you are unemotional.  Either you are a sociopath (which is unlikely) or you are dissociative.  Being detached from your self is living a half-life.  And here is the truth you are avoiding: your body feels it whether you acknowledge it or not.  For me, stress looks a lot like back pain.  Others get hives, ulcers, or high blood pressure.  And being dissociative is no joke.  Emotions are incredibly important to having relationships and a fulfilling life.  The choice not to feel is the choice to not be human.
  7. Trauma. If you have even one traumatic event in your life, you would benefit from some counseling.  We have this myth we believe about trauma.  We believe we can get over it.  You can heal from trauma.  You can have a good life despite the presence of trauma.  But trauma has a permanent effect on the topography of our brains.  You are not the same person before and after trauma.  Learn your own landscape for your own sake, and for others.
  8. You are not physically well. Exhausted?  In constant pain? The body and the mind are intimately connected.  I remember ministering to a lady who had chronic pain.  As we went into prayer ministry, her body began to act out.  And as we would look at each pain, a memory would crop up.  Her body held memories of trauma.  Jesus resolved those memories, and her body stopped hurting.  What connections have your brain and body made?  Go to counseling and find out.

If this post seems nagging to you, it totally is.  Would you go to court without a lawyer?  Would you build a house without an architect?  Here is the deal.  Some counselors are better than others.  Shop around just like you would for a good lawyer or plumber.

  But if you choose to live your life in constant unhappiness, do not fool yourself into thinking that it is God’s will or that there is no help for you. 

You are not the first or the last to suffer.  You may need to fight for a good life.  But being saved from misery requires your participation and others too.  Go for it.  You are utterly worth it.


12 Replies to “Eight Signs You Need Counseling”

  1. I really like this blog. I am currently in school for counseling. I am also in counseling myself to work through childhood trauma. Counseling is not for ‘crazy people,’ it is for humans that need guidance. Thank you for this post!

  2. This post was very timely for me. Thank you for confirming the nudge towards counseling I’ve been feeling lately!

  3. Thank you for this post. So many folks think that time heals all wounds. Sometimes, it simply doesn’t. Sometimes we all need a little help.

  4. Thanks for this post. I especially agree with the suggestion to “shop around” because even some counselors doubt that a person can recover from certain types of trauma and that’s when we also need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us to the right counselor as well as heal us in the places no other person can reach.

  5. This is such an important topic to talk about. I went through some stuff so I went through secular therapy from about the age of 16 to about the age of 23. Since then, a lot of life has happened. My husband has become a leader, though, in an outstanding program called Celebrate Recovery. The sad thing is many people think it’s only for alcoholics and drug addicts. They have no idea that there are God based organizations and programs such as this that speak to more needs than drug and alcohol addictions. CR, for example, addresses over eating, codependency, porn addiction, and much more. I know it sounds like I’m trying to promote CR, but rather I’m promoting God based counseling and programs that address the very things in our lives that can cause depression, anxiety, and overall misery. I’m with you! Therapy and programs are highly underused and overlooked. It’s time for God’s people to stop being the victim of Satan – who we are explicitly told has come to steal, kill, and destroy.

  6. It is important. When I started getting counseling I did not think it would have helped me so much but it did. People don’t give enough credit to counselors but they know what they are doing. Thanks for this article.

  7. I had a horrible experience with a counselor when I was little. And, in all honesty, I’ve never had a good one since. I know there are good counselors out there. I’ve met a few, I’ve just never had a good one myself. It definitely colors the way we look at things.

  8. I am a firm believer in counseling. It has done wonders for me, my marriage, and a few people around me. Sometimes getting through things on your own or without the correct tools to do so is too hard.

  9. I think we all need counseling..to have someone wise to bounce things off of. And hear honest feedback.

  10. This is an amazingly written post and I’m not just saying that. I can tell you put a lot of thought into it. I really like the part where you said: “Trapped in a cage inside your own brain? The brain is complicated. Best call in a locksmith who has the combination to the lock keeping you a prisoner.” Exactly! There’s no shame in getting counseling, in fact – as you pointed out – it is many times the wisest thing to do. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I think almost everyone can benefit from counseling at one point in their life or another. These signs are spot on! And counseling is nothing to be ashamed of. In the Bible God instructs us to use wise counsel. He knew we would need it and has provided ways for us to receive it!

  12. It is so important to find the right counselor!

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