Deciding to try counseling can be a challenging choice to make. While mental health has increased access, affordability, and positive outcomes, it’s still a stigmatized topic across many cultures and communities. But if you’re looking for a reason to try therapy, below are some examples of what you could gain from counseling.
Here are 4 benefits of counseling:
- Improved communication and interpersonal skills
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
- Increased ability to manage emotions
- Improve problem-solving and conflict-resolution abilities
Let’s take a deeper look at these benefits to discover how counseling could help improve your quality of life.
- Improved Communication and Interpersonal Skills
A common misconception perpetuated by the stigma around mental health is that if you participate in personal counseling, it’s because you’re inherently broken. Or something is wrong with you.
This could not be further from the truth. The truth is counseling can be just like a wellness exam at the doctor’s office. You don’t assume that your body is broken beyond repair when visiting a physician, so why do we think our minds are damaged if we seek a counselor?
Counseling has many potential benefits for individuals, couples, and families. One of the main benefits of counseling is improving communication and interpersonal skills. Unfortunately, effective communication is difficult to master and often doesn’t come naturally to most.
Counseling allows individuals to learn more about their communication styles, habits, and limitations and offers effective coaching, allowing people to acquire new skills.
Life is built on connections, and connections are made through communication. However, when individuals lack the skills to communicate effectively or have skill gaps, it can break down the connections and relationships we have with others, which creates rifts and challenges in our day-to-day lives.
As cited by numerous articles and studies, improved communication is one of the top benefits of counseling. Check out this article from Positive Psychology to learn more about how your well-being can be enhanced through counseling and learning to communicate better.
- Increased Confidence and Self-Esteem
Have you ever gotten trapped in a thought distortion? Thought distortions, put simply, are inaccurate ways of thinking and perceiving a situation or belief.
Sometimes, our minds get stuck in a loop of negativity, known as ruminating thinking, which often contributes to unhappiness and isolation. There are many types of unhelpful thought distortions, including, but not limited to:
- Black-and-white thinking: when we think in absolutes. Example: “I am never going to get X right.”
- Jumping to Conclusions: when we think we know all the answers. Example: “I think this lump is cancer.”
- Should Do and Must Do: when we only think about what we “should” be doing, that puts critical pressure on ourselves. Example: “I should be losing weight.”
While this is not an exhaustive list of thought distortions, these are common and common challenges that professional counselors can help people navigate and overcome.
Thought distortions often cause people to have a decreased sense of self-worth and allow negative emotions to overrule our reasoning and perceptions. However, through counseling, individuals can learn to identify their thought distortions, challenge them, and change them.
- Increased Ability to Manage Emotions
Were you ever taught how to manage your emotions, or were you simply taught to push them aside and hide them? Most of us were taught that negative emotions are inherently “bad” and need to be repressed, or there will be negative consequences.
If you’re like most people, you never learned the skills as a child to manage your emotions productively. Counseling can help people understand that emotions are not necessarily “bad” or “good.” Feelings are not things that need to be oppressed, avoided, or forgotten, but rather, means of processing information and situations.
Counselors can help you learn how to acknowledge your feelings without letting them overpower you.
To learn more about how counseling can improve your emotional management, check out this article from Good Therapy.
- Improve Problem-Solving and Conflict-Resolution Abilities
When we are not in control of our emotions, we can be very reactive to emotional stimuli, resulting in more significant conflict and challenges in our daily life. As emotional beings, we sometimes say or do things that can cause problems in our relationships with others. If we don’t have the skills to resolve these issues as they arise, it can negatively affect other aspects of our lives.
Stressful events are part of life. Sometimes, stressors are significant, like getting a divorce, grieving a loved one, or losing a job. Other times, stressors accumulate and can be a compilation of minor things like family struggles, traffic jams, or tense working relationships.
Whatever you have going on in your life, counseling can help you manage the big and little stressors that get in your way. To learn more about problem-solving skill development in therapy, check out this article from the American Psychological Association, Division 12.
- Positive Psychology: Benefits of Counseling
- Healthline: What are Cognitive Distortions and How Can you Change These Thinking Patterns
- Harvard Health: How to Recognize and Tame Your Cognitive Distortions
- Good Therapy: Emotion-Focused Therapy
- American Psychological Association: What is Problem-Solving Therapy?