If I go to counseling does that mean I am crazy?

Do “normal” people get counseling?

There are lots of reasons to go to for counseling and asking for help does not make you crazy. In fact modern mental health has mostly dropped the use of the term “crazy.” Truth is we are all a little different. One persons “crazy” just may be another’s great new idea, think Columbus finding his way to the new world or smart phones. Phones without wires? My grandfather would have thought of that as crazy, and he worked for the phone company way back when.

Most of life’s problems lie on a continuum. Some people have a little too much anger and other people have a lot to much. If you only have a little and it does not get you in trouble the call is up to you. If you repeatedly lose control you may be court ordered to an anger management class.

As a cognitive type therapist, I think most of our problems are caused by thinking errors. Sometimes there are life lessons you still need to learn. Those “thinking lessons” can be taught by life experiences but having a counselor or coach to help improve your learning is very helpful.

Really serious thought disorders get grouped into categories and they get “diagnosed.” Not everyone who has a diagnosis has the same exact group of symptoms. Sometimes we wonder if maybe when are lumping a lot of different problems together because the symptoms look the same even if the causes are different.

If you are running a fever, you may have a cold or flu; it might go away in a day or two even if you don’t get treatment. But what if you have an infectious disease? Sometimes it pays to go get it checked out. In the case of fever we see a medical doctor. In the case of an emotional, mental or behavioral problem people see a mental health professional.

Let’s consider the range of a problem. Say sadness or depression. If you are so depressed you can’t get out of bed and go to work. That’s some pretty serious depression you got there. This needs professional treatment. Most people who get major depressive disorder do not suddenly get better. The disorder sets up both physical and mental changes that prolong the problem. Don’t show up for work and you may get fired. That is likely to make your depression worse.

Now maybe after a few years of doing a job, or in a relationship you find you just aren’t happy the way you used to be. You might consult a counselor about why you are feeling stressed or less happy. Maybe you can do some work on your relationship and make it better. Maybe you can get another view point on your situation that will change the way the stress you are under looks to you.

Counseling can be the equivalent of an emotional eye exam. Getting a new pair of emotional glasses may change the way you see the world.

Sometimes after exploring the situation you discover there is really nothing wrong with the job. What is wrong is that while the job meets your money and physical needs it is not meeting your emotional needs. Before you quit and go on that Artic expedition you might want to become more informed about other ways to make your life better here at home. Some people need help in finding a new career others need to find a new hobby or passion.

You might chose to work with a counselor on areas of motivation, inspiration, time or stress management or other personal growth areas.

Insurance will cover the more severe things like a diagnosable depression but lots of time the problem is family conflict or personal growth.  They you need to decide are you willing to spend the money to improve your life? How much is a happy life worth to you? Or are you a person who feels you should suffer?

Counselors can and do work on areas of personal growth. Recently we have seen a lot more people calling themselves “Life coaches.” They should limit their efforts to working with people who do not have a recognized mental illness. I think that line is often blurry. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Professional Clinical counselor I do work with clients on areas of personal growth also.

Some of the techniques counselors use to improve life satisfaction have merit. I have taken a coup0ol of life coaching classes and find I am incorporating some of these growth activities into my counseling practice.

So the answer to the question is no seeking counseling does not mean you are crazy, whatever that might be. If your life is less than you would like it to be consider working with a counselor.

If you are in California and interested in my services please contact me. If you live elsewhere I would be glad to answer questions and can do some coaching by email but the heavy lifting of therapy and Clinical counseling is best done in person by someone in your local area.

For more on our counseling and therapy services in Fresno California see the David Miller Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist page at http://www.counselorfresno.com/

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

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  1. Pingback: Are people who go for counseling crazy? | counselorssoapbox

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