Are you considering counseling for your family? Know that you aren’t alone. Many families look for counselors to help them through a multitude of situations ranging in everything from death of a family member to divorce or simply getting their home routines organized.
Reaching out for help is a great first step in the direction of solving whatever your current issues may be. You should be forewarned, though, that there are a lot of misconceptions about counseling and the effect it can have on your situation, as well as what kind of people go to counseling. If you are having second thoughts or are unsure if your situation warrants seeking professional help, read on:
Misconception #1: Therapy is Only for Handling Tragic Situations
It is commonly believed that families only need counselors to help them overcome situations that are heavier than they can handle. The death of a child, for instance, certainly warrants family therapy, but did you know that some families go to therapy just to get help budgeting their needs financially or communicating with one another? If you are feeling a break down in the way your family interacts, counseling can help and there’s no shame in seeking help just because you haven’t yet crossed any major hurdles. As with any type of healthcare, preventative health care matters, too.
Misconception #2: Only Weak Families Need Therapy
It actually takes a very strong family to decide that they need help and are willing to put in the work to navigate a difficult time effectively. A weak family is one that continues to ignore problems rather than face them.
Misconception #3: Only Bad Parents Have Kids in Counseling
There is no greater love than that which knows when another’s needs are too great for them to handle alone. Seeking help for your child and family means that you have taken a big step forward in providing them the fullest care that you can in a difficult time, even if it creates an awkward or embarrassing situation when you have to admit you can’t do it alone.
It takes a wonderful parent to recognize, ask for, and receive the help needed to keep their child on a pathway to success.
Misconception #4: Everyone will Get Equal Time
Ideally, everyone in the family would have equal time to discuss the situations they are dealing with. It stands to reason, though, that the counselor might recognize that there are certain people or even one particular person in the group who seems to need more care or assistance than the others. In these situations, it is likely that they will discuss a routine of care that involves solo time for those who need a little more listening or instruction.
Misconception #5: The Family Counselor Can Tell Us How to Fix This
A counselor isn’t a magician. It may very well be that your situation is unfixable, but even in those situations a counselor can help you navigate through the change healthily.
Often, parents seek counseling in the hopes they can fix their marriage and keep the family together only to realize that they are better off apart. This is not a failure. This is a successful first step in fixing the underlying problems that have plagued the family with hardship already. Counseling can help parents and children navigate divorce or separation and come out the other side healthier and happier than ever.
Misconception #6: Counseling is Expensive
As with any type of health care, mental health care also comes with a price tag. It should be noted, though, that many health insurance policies do cover family counseling. Additionally, you can check with your employee assistance program and see if they would help defray some of the costs.
When all else fails, ask your counselor about local grants or scholarships or even a sliding fee program. Many counselors offer sliding fee programs to clients and have the ability to get help for you if counseling is needed, but not within your current budget.
Misconception #7: Showing Up at Counseling is a Cure
Simply showing up won’t fix the problems. A person has to be willing to put in the work and listen to the counselor’s advice in order to take strides to be a more effective and healthy family unit. Getting to the appointment is simply the first step. You have to follow through on your own.