This past year, Eric and I wrote a book titled: “So You Want to be a Fiancée?: How pre-engagement counseling can change your life.” During this series, we are highlighting a handful of chapters! Today, we’re looking at the fourteenth chapter: Counseling Myths
What emotions does the word “counseling” conjure up in your mind? Does it evoke pleasant emotions or negative ones? For years the words ‘counseling,’ ‘therapy,’ and ‘psychiatry’ have carried undesirable stigmas with the public. There is an idea floating around out there that only severely disturbed people seek out counseling or that the courts require counseling for those who are a potential threat to themselves or others.
Having been on both sides of the counseling table, I can honestly say that a lot of good can come from discussing life’s difficulties with a therapist – as long as the therapist uses the Bible as his or her standard of truth. If not, he or she can lead you down a self-seeking, humanistic path. If you find the idea of going to counseling unnerving, allow me to debunk a few counseling myths. ~smile~
If I Go to Counseling, I am Admitting That I’m Weak
This is an understandable response. Logically speaking, one would assume that if he or she needed to talk about problems with a stranger, he or she would have to first admit that problems exist in his or her life.
The faulty thinking here is that problems make us weak. That could not be farther from the truth. Who among us does not have a difficulty to overcome? In college, I saw a counselor after I came out of a destructive relationship. Did going through a bad breakup make me weak? No, it made me human and I needed some perspective and objective wisdom to help me move forward.
Fast forward about ten years and I went back to see a counselor to discuss some stresses and life disappointments. My stress and struggles were not weaknesses. We all get dealt some bad cards and a qualified counselor or coach can help us work through those problems. Otherwise, we can continue to stay in a rut and not ask for help. It takes a strong person to realize that he or she does not have all the answers all the time and to admit a need and reach out for help.
If My Counselor is Competent, I will leave with All My Issues Resolved
As a relationship coach, I sincerely wish this expectation was realistic, but it is not. Counseling gives you tools so that you can work through life’s struggles, but you will not leave the counseling relationship having all your questions answered and all of your problems resolved. A good counselor will “teach you to fish” instead of “handing you a fish.” When you leave you will be able to take what you have learned and work through life’s struggles.
If, however, you have been going to counseling for a period of time and you do not seem to be getting anywhere with your counselor, you can address your concerns. After all, you are the paying client. If your sessions still do not improve after talking to your counselor, it is probably time to seek out another counselor, therapist, or coach.
It Costs More Money than it is Worth!
Eric is sure to ask our clients at the end of our time together if the program was worth their financial investment and the answer has always been “yes.” It is hard to spend money on a process when you are unsure if it is going to be worth the price. For the cost of most sessions, you can go out to eat twice at a moderately priced restaurant. You can take yourself and a few friends to the movies. You can even book a room at a cheap hotel. It may feel like a lot of money up front, but if you take the process seriously, do the assignments, and seek to grow as much as you can from the experience, you will see a solid return on your investment.
In regards to pre-engagement counseling specifically, what price can you put on the opportunity to learn about each other in greater depth? How much is too much to get a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a couple? If pre-engagement counseling could save you from multiple late night fights followed by restless sleep, how much would it be worth? Most importantly, if pre-engagement counseling could save you from marrying the wrong person, how much would that be worth?
Being the tight wad that I naturally am, I understand the hesitancy in paying for something as intangible as counseling; however, having been married a while now, I would tell my younger self to definitely pay the price and take full advantage of a Bible based pre-engagement program.
Can you think of more counseling myths? If you are still uncomfortable with the idea of working with a counselor, feel free to comment and let us know your concerns. We would love to hear from you and address them, if possible!
For more counseling myths (and corresponding truths!), check out our book So, You Want to be a Fiancée?
If you have any question about the counseling process, feel free to contact us and we will get back in touch with you!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the book we wrote to help you understand the pre-engagement process better. After you’ve read it, contact us and send us your feedback – we’d love to hear from you!
What counseling myths have you believed in the past? What would it take for you to consider seeking out a pre-engagement counselor or a personal counselor?