Counseling is a necessary and beneficial tool to society, but it has come to be stigmatized as a sign of weakness and brokenness. In many factions of society, it is considered a disgrace to need counseling. It is looked down on as something that broken, weak, whiny people require. This stigma originates from thousands of years of people having to cope with hardships and trials in the midst of cultures that did not approve of weakness. In modern times, we understand the intricacies of human mental health far better than we did in the past, yet still people consider it a sign of weakness to explore it with a professional for the purpose of bettering one’s self.
One of the most common stigmas of receiving counseling is that the individual must be broken or damaged goods. Society sees this type of person as throw-away and unable to contribute anything of value. It is true that people tend to seek counseling to remedy something that is going wrong in their lives, such as their marriage or their life’s direction. However, assuming that anyone who needs counseling for matters such as these must be broken rather than simply having the wisdom to know when to seek help is the root of harmful stigmas.
Another widely spread stigma of a person who needs counseling is that they are weak, needy and cannot handle themselves. The idea of counseling indicating weakness is an old, pervasive one. Men in particular still fall victim to this way of thinking all the time. Asking for help is perceived as a sign of weakness. This is an attitude that many have worked long and hard on to eridicate. In fact, possessing any understanding of human behavior means that you already know better; that requiring counseling makes a person more sturdy and self aware than burying the feelings one is going through.
And lastly, it is common to be stigmatized as a whiny, emotional crybaby for needing counseling. People value strength and stability over expressing their hardships, which has lead to a collective mindset that opposes reaching out for help. Nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing one’s self to be vulnerable enough to seek help is a sign of strength.