How Counseling Can Save Your Life

I will be talking with Dr. Randy Carlson on the Intentional Living radio program Tuesday, August 22nd. He has asked me to spend a few minutes talking about the importance of counseling and how it can potentially save a person’s life.

As I consider how to describe the value of counseling, a few things come to mind.

At some time in everyone’s life, something unexpected and painful can occur. Death, divorce, injustice, rejection and serious accidents can bring about intense emotions or slow-burning resentment. Counseling can help you identify and manage the hurt or anger that could lead to destructive decisions and negative reactions. Lashing out in anger or holding on to resentment can have long-lasting devastating consequences and derail the healing and recovery process. Letting hurt and anger go unattended will steal the peace and joy from your life.

Statistics tell us that 40 million Americans over 18 suffer from anxiety disorders.  Almost all of us have experienced a time when we were so upset by a situation (or perceived situation) that we couldn’t stop our racing anxious thoughts. In the vast range of human experience, this can happen to anyone who has lived through an extreme trauma such as active military combat or to the teenager who just found out her boyfriend wants to break up, and everything in between. When you just can’t “turn off” the thoughts about what you should have done differently or how you have been hurt or what could go wrong next, it can be life-changing to receive professional counseling to help you take back control and restore your equilibrium and perspective.

In my practice as a counselor, I encounter people every day who don’t believe they matter or that they have any value to offer in life. You might be astounded at the prevalence of low self-confidence, poor self-esteem and overall discouragement – or you might be living with it every day. For some, it comes from constant exposure to criticism and for others it can be a manifestation of a mood disorder, but many people suffering from these issues need help. Counseling can offer better perspective on your value, strengths and growth areas as well as empowerment to acknowledge, accept and face those growth areas with optimism, hope and a plan for recovery.

In more serious cases of depression, the potential for suicide can become dangerously real. People who have reached the point of despair may start believing they would be better off dead or that others would be happier without them. At times, people may even consider suicide in order to punish someone who has hurt them. In such emergency situations, intervention by a mental health professional can be critical. Severe depression is a serious disease that can be treated. Left unchecked, a patient may literally lose their life by a deliberate act of suicide or even by a slower method such as substance abuse, overeating, or other risky and self-destructive behaviors.

Counseling is not only about getting help for moderate to severe problems associated with anxiety and depression, but it’s about thriving. It can impact any area of your life that needs improvement, such as:

Creating a desire to care for yourself. Counseling can help restore your sense of value and purpose and motivate you to make better choices related to your health and well-being.

Living up to your potential. Counseling can steer you toward an understanding and appreciation of the gifts and abilities that you possess. It can help you throw off the misconceptions about who you “should” be or negative beliefs about who you are and help you find the unique and important ways you contribute to people around you and how you can make a difference in the world.

Enjoying deep and satisfying relationships. Counseling can teach you life-changing strategies for improving communication, dealing with conflict, and understanding the people in your life. Healthy relationships are the foundation for support in your life, and counseling can make it stronger.

Building confidence that leads to greater success. Counseling can help you identify your interests and skills in order to steer you in the direction of success in a career or other areas of life. It can help you tap into what you’re passionate about and how to create goals to achieve the things that matter to you.

Counseling is not only for people who struggle with moderate to severe mental illness or couples on the brink of divorce.  There are times in almost everyone’s life when an objective, caring, trained listener can help you get “unstuck” when you feel you have hit an impasse and need a new perspective.

Please leave a comment below and tell us how counseling has helped you!

Live, Work & Relate Well!

Dr. Todd


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