5 common misconceptions about counselling

Discover the truth about common misconceptions in counseling. Learn why counselors won't judge you, how counseling is for everyone, why seeking help isn't a sign of weakness, what actually happens during counseling sessions, and why counselors won't tell you what your problems are or how to fix them. Gain insight into the empowering and collaborative nature of the counselor-client relationship. Start your journey towards self-discovery and personal growth today.

3 min read

title of the post: 5 common misconceptions about counselling
title of the post: 5 common misconceptions about counselling

1. Counsellor will judge me

Some people don’t come to counselling because they worry that the therapist will judge them. It is understandable that it can be scary to disclose private information about your life that no one or very few people know about. However, all counsellors have been in counselling themselves, so they understand what it feels like to be a client in a therapeutic relationship. I believe in the principle that people do the best they can with the knowledge and resources they have. We are all human, and we all live here for the first time learning as we go. So anything you say in the counselling room is not used to judge you but to help you navigate life’s challenges, understand your feelings and empower you to make any changes if needed.

2. Counselling is for people who have severe mental health problems.

Historically, the topic of mental health was surrounded by a lot of stigma. In people’s minds, it seemed to be very black and white - either you were healthy and “normal”, or you were mentally ill. Therefore it’s understandable that it takes a lot of time and discussion for the stigma to fade away and for people to feel comfortable talking about mental health. Counselling is for everyone. For example, you might want to see a counsellor because you need to talk to someone about issues you can’t talk to anyone else. Or you want to learn how to manage stress, increase your self-esteem or improve your relationships. The non-judgmental space the counsellor holds makes it easier for you to explore any thoughts and feelings you experience but don’t have space or time to give attention to.

3. Seeking counselling is a sign of weakness.

Another myth is that seeking counselling is a sign of weakness. There are people who aren’t used to asking for help or who learnt in life that they can only rely on themselves. Being self-sufficient can often be beneficial, but we are social creatures in nature and talking to other people can make a big difference in the way we feel. For example, children learn emotional regulation from their primary caregivers. They can sense if someone feels upset, stressed or relaxed and happy. In addition, how to look after our mental health is not really taught in school, so it is absolutely natural that we might need help from others to learn about it.

4.Counsellors don’t do anything. They just sit there, write notes, and nod occasionally.

Counselling is quite a unique profession; unless you have seen a counsellor before, you might not know what the process looks like. It happens between the counsellor and the client - whether that is an individual, a couple or a small group. Not all counsellors will be your match, and some people have negative experiences. In addition, TV shows and media are full of exaggerated, outdated or purely wrong portrayals of counselling sessions, which might put people off seeking a counsellor for themselves.

Counselling has different forms and approaches, and there are different talking therapies but also art, music, drama therapy, even walk and talk therapy. A lot of the process is invisible and happens behind the scenes. For example, the counsellor will think about you outside of the session, and they might discuss the best way to work with you with their supervisor. During the session, they carefully listen to you, validate your feelings, ask questions, and sometimes give a new perspective. They want to understand what being you is like for you.

5. The counsellor will tell me what my problems are and how to fix them.

I strongly believe that the client is the expert in their life. What you share with me in the room is just a glimpse of your world. Therefore, it could be damaging to tell you confidently what your problems are and how to fix them. In addition, even if the advice were right, it would potentially make you more reliant on counselling than needed. Instead, I want to empower you to trust yourself to make independent decisions. To achieve it, I ask you questions that help them reflect and gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
As a therapist, I aim to delve beyond simply solving one specific problem in your life. I am committed to assisting you in enhancing your overall confidence, intuition, and mental and emotional clarity. I aim to guide you in discovering your true identity and values, enabling you to make decisions aligned with your authentic self.