#ListenUpNG 2018: COUNSELLING AND THE MYTHS SURROUNDING IT

According to google, Counselling is the provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems. In case you were not aware, the way we think can actually become a problem and affect our emotions and mental health.

#ListenUpNG With the advancement in science and technology, a better understanding of the brain, how it works and how our thought processes directly influence our emotions and ultimately our physical bodies are now available. These are results of years of research and analysis.

#ListenUpNG Today, counselling as a form of therapy is now being used to help people come to terms with any problems they are facing, with an ultimate aim of overcoming them. The term can mean different things to different people, but in general it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.

#ListenUpNG However, with the emergence of Counselling as a profession, comes numerous myths surrounding this art. In today’s session and next week’s, we will be examining what counselling is, is not and the Myths surrounding it.

#ListenUpNG A counsellor is not there to sit you down and tell you what to do – instead they will encourage you to talk about what’s bothering you in order to uncover any root causes and identify your specific ways of thinking.

#ListenUpNG The counsellor may then look to create a plan of action to either help you reconcile your issues or help you to find ways of coping. This is contrary to the concept of giving advice or even an outright instruction on how to handle your affairs.

#ListenUpNG However, with this knowledge of counselling, this is not to say the main stream of advice giving is totally out of place especially in our families or places of worship. The ‘council of elders’ still have their place based on their wealth of experience and foresight

#ListenUpNG Counselling as it’s known today is however a better way to go. It’s a result of years of studies and training in various methods and tools of counselling. It combined the natural aptitude of the counsellor and his wealth of experience with skills and tools of the trade.

#ListenUpNG Counselling is a process and does not come in a ‘one size fits all’ format because the parties and their challenges differ. Our temperaments and constitutions differ from one person to another. It therefore means two people even of the same gender can go through similar experiences and react in diffetent ways.

#ListenUpNG So in counselling, each session is generally customised to the individual or parties involved. The sessions can come in different categories to suit the request of the clients. We can have…

1. Face-to-face – This is when you make an appointment with a counsellor to see them in person, usually at their practice. Face-to-face sessions are one of the more popular therapy formats because they provide an opportunity for you to react to any emotions that arise there and then.

2. Individual or group – You may choose to see a counsellor by yourself, or if you prefer you could join a counselling group with people experiencing similar issues. Going to a group counselling session can be helpful if you want to discuss your issues with people who are going through similar problems and you may even gain yourself a support network. Alternatively, you may wish to see a counsellor alone to preserve your privacy and concentrate on your own feelings.

3. Telephone counselling – For some, telephone counselling offers a helpful alternative to face-to-face counselling. This involves talking to your counsellor over the phone instead of in person. This form of counselling can be particularly useful for those too busy to attend face-to-face sessions, and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home. This format also tends to be more flexible and can potentially reduce waiting list times.

Whatsapp Video Calls have proven to be very useful and convenient for some clients. You can see your counsellor and vice versa. This also helps the counsellor assess the body language, eye movement etc of the client during counselling.

Some clients even prefer Whatsapp chatting which though tedious can be quite therapeutic in itself. Apart from that, it could also make counselling very affordable since an office space is not required as you aren’t meeting up with your counsellor physically

4. Online counselling – Some people prefer not to physically speak to a counsellor at all, utilizing technology and emailing their counsellor instead. This form of counselling allows you to take the time to think through what you wish to discuss, and many find the act of physically writing their issues down cathartic. Online counselling also offers you the chance to protect your anonymity.

#ListenUpNG Counselling can help with the following: Trauma, Relationship Issues, Addictions, Bereavement, Abuse, Teminal Illness, Mental Health Issues etc. It can also offer practical advice and out of the box options for overcoming these kinds of issues as well as allowing you the space to vent your frustrations and feelings.

#ListenUpNG Ironically, instead of people embracing Counselling as an option and a means of getting clarity for their emotional issues, the conscious resistance, doubts and suspicion with which this profession is viewed proved to be a deterrent.

#ListenUpNG Although interests in self development and empowerment have steadily grown and is still is, there are still many people who have pre conceived ideas and mindsets of what counselling is all about, what it can do and cannot do

#ListenUpNG This is beliefs are fuelled by the myths surrounding Counselling and counsellors as a whole. To further understand counselling, you need to know what it’s not! Some of these myths include:

COUNSELLING MYTH 1:
COUNSELLING IS ONLY FOR WOMEN

#ListenUpNG Though research and statistics reflect that more women attend counselling than men, this dies not negate the fact that counselling is equally beneficial to men. It is for every and anyone, male or female, young or old who wants to explore their inner thoughts, feelings and who seek to confront their issues in a confidential and safe environment with a skilled helper.

COUNSELLING MYTH 2:
YOU HAVE TO BE THINKING OF GETTING DIVORCED TO GO FOR COUPLES COUNSELLING

Sadly, most people fall into this category. Their issues have slowly but steadily eaten deep into the foundation of their marital relationship before seeking help. They hace allowed things to fall apart and the centre is barely holding up. Couples counselling can be beneficial for couples who are NOT experiencing problems on their relationship abd those who notice early warning signs.

TO BE CONTINUED.

About Kemi Odutayo

‘Kemi Odutayo, a graduate of University of Lagos, Nigeria is a Practitioner of NLP, a blogger, an author, a counselor and a media consultant. She is the Head of Operations, Me4 Communications, a publishing, marketing and communications outfit specializing in publishing books/eBooks, managing and offering training for social media accounts for individuals and organizations. Kemi and her husband of many years, Kayode Odutayo have a beautiful family blessed with three lovely children.