what is counseling???


What Is Counseling?

There are many myths about what Counseling entails. Most of them are rooted in some outdated ideas about psychology and psychotherapy. Unfortunately, images of old men in beards, clients on couches and patients in asylums still define what counseling is for many individuals who might benefit from what counseling offers today.

Often, people dismiss counseling as Something for “crazy people”? Professional help for people with really major problems?An activity for people who are way too preoccupied with themselves! A crutch for people who are just too weak to handle life.


Where you go and get analyzed by somebody and then hope something changes for the better!
Usually, if counseling is described in these ways, the descriptions are coming from people who have never been to counseling....Counseling is many things....but a good place to start is by clarifying what counseling is NOT!

Counseling is NOT a place that people go to find out if they’re "crazy" ...but rather to get support because sometimes the world can seem pretty “crazy.”Counseling is NOT something that attends only to challenges regarded as “major problems” and dismissing things some may regard as “less important problems” but rather attends to the issues that students bring in whenever they feel the distress is getting in the way of living life with satisfaction. Counseling simply helps show those who come to counseling that they possess the strength and abilities to manage their challenges.Counseling is NOT an activity for self-absorbed people. In fact, most students who seek counseling are struggling because they are very sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others and want to preserve their relationships by working on the difficulties that threaten them.. Counseling is NOT an activity where one expert analyzes the client. Rather, it is an activity where counselor and client work as a team to make positive changes in the client's approach to life. Counseling is NOT a crutch for weak people. Rather, it is a vehicle for strong people who decide to face their challenges directly rather than continue in the more frightened and “escape”-oriented ways that others use to deal with difficulties.

A Mirror
Counseling is a unique relationship in which the Counselor’s job is to hold up a mirror for the client to see himself or herself in. We all have experiences in which we can’t see things about ourselves without a mirror.
Whether our hair is fully combed, whether we have something stuck in our teeth, or whether we have a wound in a hard to see place, we often need mirrors to see these things well enough to do something about them. And, sometimes, we need someone to hold the mirror so we can see the things at are at more hidden angles. In addition to knowing what angles to hold the mirror from, the counselor understands that sometimes it takes a while for folks to see what they need.... especially if there are more subtle things needing our recognition. Finally, because most people tend to be hard on themselves (if not downright mean to themselves) the counselor knows to hold the mirror in such a way that the client can see himself or herself from a caring, supportive, and sympathetic perspective.

Often counselors seem to only be repeating what clients are saying to them or paraphrasing clients rather than giving answers.
I hear you saying....
It seems that you are....
I can feel that you are experiencing...
How does that make you feel?
What emotions do you have about this?
Actually, when counselors are doing this, there is a strategy behind it. Remember, counseling is not about experts fixing problematic people. Mirrors don’t comb our hair, they just motivate us to pick up the comb by showing the areas that need our attention.
When counselors ask such questions or make such statements, they are not necessarily seeking answers from clients. Rather, they are simply giving the clients an opportunity to focus on the things that seem out of view for them....
often this involves pointing the mirror to some neglected painful emotions.
Counseling is about reflecting back to the client that he or she is being heard and providing them an opportunity to hear themselves. Often, hearing one's own thoughts and feelings in another person's words adds a clarity and support that's difficult to grasp when the emotional turmoil simply swims around in our heads without any form. When students can see the most complete reflection of themselves, pain and all, they are more capable of learning about the details of themselves. With this enhanced perspective, those in counseling can make the adjustments needed to make their lives more satisfying.The Counseling RelationshipMirrors With ExpertiseSometimes, because Counselors have a lot of experience witnessing human beings in various forms of life challenges, they can ask questions or share observations that are more revealing than what friends or family members might say. With these new revelations, clients make decisions and--with the support of the counselor-- clients take action toward positive growth in their lives.Thus, the relationship between the Counselor (this supportive mirror) and the Client, is helpful in and of itself. The Counseling Relationship is one that exists between a person with caring expertise and a person with discouraging isolation around difficult life experiences. It is a relationship that emerges through a sharing of personal history and exploring powerful emotions.
Confusions Traumas Rejections Hurt Hopes Anger Fears Abandonment
Because the counselor is a real person who typically cares genuinely about the client, a relationship develops between the person of the counselor and the person of the client. Genuine connection, defined by a closeness between two persons out of the trust-based sharing, emerges between them.However, because the counselor typically self-discloses very little in the counseling relationship in order to maintain a focus on meeting the client’s needs, and because the counselor’s job is to “hold up the mirror,” you, the client are actually forming a new relationship with yourself--- in more emotional detail and with a more accepting perspective. Thus, the client in pain and confusion begins to form a close relationship with the client as a growing individual, increasingly equipped to take care of him or her Self. This point is important to emphasize because it explains Counseling as a venture aimed at helping clients become autonomous rather than fostering dependence on professionals.

Mirrors Come in Different Shapes
There are different formats of counseling and different approaches counselors may take, but most are in one of three forms: Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling, and Group CounselingStudents are often hesitant to engage in anything other than individual counseling. While often this is the most appropriate intervention, the other formats have unique advantages that should be considered.Often, students are resistant to couples counseling, opting to talk “about their relationship” with a counselor in individual counseling. Couples Counseling adds the partner’s perspective to the counseling to the benefits of individual counseling. Group Counseling, a prospect that is intimidating to many students, has several advantages. For one thing, Group Counseling provides at least as many mirrors as there are group members, compared to the single mirror available in individual counseling. When a person’s difficulties have a significant interpersonal component---in other words, if the client’s struggle is something that impacts relationships with others---Group Counseling is often most helpful because it provides a safe place to get feedback on how they are experienced by others.For individuals having difficulty establishing or maintaining relationships...
Shyness, New Friends or New Romantic Interests Don’t Call, Confusing Conflicts, Feeling Left Out from Social Groups---....the group offers an arena where the client eventually begins acting and reacting in similar ways to their relating style outside the group....The group, facilitated toward a supportive and caring approach, can shed light in how you may come across as well as helping correct some incorrect assumptions that may lead to some of the relationship difficulties to begin with.

So What Is Counseling?
It’s an Honest and Supportive Mirror It’s a Relationship that Builds Confidence.
It’s available for any Georgia State University student who may need to explore some of the difficulties that have started to form barriers to success and satisfaction with this thing called Life.
Contact UsIf you decide that you might want to explore Counseling as a resource, call or come by to schedule an appointment. The Counseling Center106 Courtland StreetMonday - Friday Open From 9am - 5:pm(Evening Hours Available on Tuesdays When Classes are in Session)(404) 413-1640
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