In the past, there was a stigma attached to seeking therapy. Depending upon one’s generation or beliefs, counseling was thought to be for those who were mentally ill or those who were weak in character. Luckily, times have changed.
A Resource For a Variety of People and Issues
The majority of people who seek out counseling in a private practice setting such as my own are very diverse and so are their reasons for coming. Most people who walk through my door are regular working people living normal lives who have regular problems. The difference is they choose to work out their problems or struggles with a therapist for professional feedback and suggestions. Just as someone who is having physical pain may go to a doctor for greater understanding of the source and solution to the pain, or a person may hire a personal trainer to have better results in the gym, people go to a therapist to gain greater insight into their situation, patterns, behaviors and solution.
The types of people who access counseling are extremely varied. I have seen many adolescents, elderly persons and every age in between. I work with individuals and couples. Some are high level professionals, some are college students, and some are still seeking a career path and direction. The presenting problems are very diverse. For example, many couples seek out Premarital Counseling. Other couples pursue couples counseling involving problems related to communication, incompatibility, infidelity, jealously, conflict resolution, etc. Individuals come in having problems with their significant other or friends, indecision and confusion about what course to take in life, depression, anxiety, grief, substance use, spiritual issues, stress, job dissatisfaction, or life transitions, or codependency. This list of reasons why people come to counseling is too long to note here.
Challenge the Weakening Stigma
So, the next time you consider seeking out a professional therapist to assist you in getting through a tough time in life and you have a thought telling you you’re “weak” or “must have mental problems”, I hope you consider the above. The field of therapy has changed dramatically over the last several decades and it is now a wise and viable option for many who want a trained ear and voice in which to consider while attempting to make life better and happier.
Sylvia Flanagan, MFT is a San Diego therapist with a private practice in Mission Valley. For more information about San Diego Therapy, feel free to call or email her.
Office hours are Monday through Thursday 9:00 to 6:00.