It is unfortunate that those people who can most benefit from counselling are often most reluctant to use it. Why would that be?

back to back couple frustrated tiredPeople who are stuck in pain, distress, and dysfunction often want things to change. But, they do not want to change themselves, because that would feel like correction, which would imply that some incompetence or moral failure, something “wrong” with them. Particularly at times of stress, we can all confuse our superficial thoughts, words, and actions with our core self. And we all have powerful natural defenses against feeling shame like that.

It’s much more comfortable for us to dismiss the problem, or blame it on someone else, especially our intimate partner.

But good counsellors do not think of that as a moral failing, since the tendency to protect oneself is a completely natural reaction.

It may help to realize that counselling is not correction — it is support. However, it is not support for maintaining the unhelpful thoughts, feelings, words, actions that keep us stuck. It is support for understanding and acknowledging the beneficial desires, values, and intent that make our core identity, leading to support for change in those more superficial aspects of ourselves. We can become better selves, growing through our natural desires to improve ourselves, and appreciate, connect with, and protect others.