It is common for people to stigmatize counseling, but the reality of counseling is far different from what the stigma of it would have a person believe. Needing counseling is stigmatized as a sign that a person is damaged goods; a disgrace to their family and their reputation. Men in particular believe in this stigma as there are still heavy expectations placed on men to conceal their emotions. What counseling actually represents is courage, responsibility and success.
The first reality about counseling that people need to come to terms with is that counseling is for everyone because no one has perfect mental health. A person who claims they have no need for counseling is fooling themselves. Everyone can benefit from bringing an objective outside opinion into their situation to find their areas of weakness and work on them. Our society’s present stigma on counseling is that it is only for broken people, but this is far from the truth.
Another errant stigma on counseling is that receiving it is a sign that a person is unhealthy and dysfunctional, when in fact, receiving counseling is highly responsible and healthy. Anyone who takes the step into committing to counseling should be commended for their bravery and their recognition of a crucial necessity. A person’s ability to recognize their own flaws and harmful tendencies indicates strong self awareness and dedication to good mental health. If one has identified harmful behavior they perpetrate and does nothing about it, they are being irresponsible with their own well being and the well being of those they care about.
Another important point to embrace in stripping away the stigmas from counseling is that counseling actually works. People are social creatures and part of being social is learning from others. Before counseling was a profession, it was merely an old tradition. People would spend time receiving counsel from a well respected person in their community in order to get through trying personal matters. It used to be understood that this was a necessary part of life because it offered people the guidance they required. In modern times, this practice has become looked down upon as a sign of weakness, which is preventing people from seeking the counsel they are intended to have.