Myths about counselling and therapy

Many people have preconceived ideas of what therapy is or may entail. Here are some of the ones we have come across:

A counsellor will sort out my emotional distress
Therapy is a collaborative experience between the counsellor and client that requires commitment and devotion from both. Working with emotional distress is a shared task.

A counsellor reads the mind of others
Counsellors cannot read the minds of others; we listen to and observe the client’s perceptions and the emotional and behavioural patterns that contribute to the client’s distress.

Therapy is only for crazy people
Therapy can be helpful for everyone, from people who want to explore “everyday” issues to those who are struggling with severe enduring difficulties.

Therapists never say anything
Counsellors are trained in different theoretical models, which promote different ways of being with the client. Most importantly the focus is on building a trusting and healing relationship between client and counsellor.

I can talk to my friends/family about my problems instead of a counsellor
Although people have empathic friends and family that they highly value, a counsellor is trained to listen, reflect, provide insight and at times positively challenge the client without having a personal agenda or emotional investment with the client.

Counsellors will blame my family/childhood for my problems
The aim of therapy is not to attribute blame. A counsellor encourages the client to understand their current circumstances which can involve making links with the past. This insight may help the client to make positive changes in their lives and identify and recognise patterns from the past.

Counsellors will change the person I am
Therapy is a collaborative process which allows the client and counsellor to work together on what brings the client to therapy. It is not the counsellor’s role to tell the client what to think or feel but to support the client to understand his or her own thoughts and feelings.