Deciding when to go and see a counsellor is never a straightforward process and we often ruminate for a considerable length of time before eventually making up our minds to go and see one. So when is the right time to go?
People seek therapy at different points in their lives and for very different reasons. There is no right time for counselling as such.
We ask ourselves why we need therapy and what can it do? We wonder if our problems are somehow, good enough for counselling and we ask ourselves what does it actually mean to go and see someone. Is making the choice to go and see a therapist somehow to admit that there is actually something wrong with us or that we are incapable of functioning on our own? We mull it over and wonder if now is the right time, or we wait until such time as we think it’s going to feel right. There is no easy way to decide when it’s the right time to go.
We are all individuals and come from all sorts of backgrounds. We hold different beliefs and have different stories to tell. We decide when the time is right to go for our own reasons. Often we go because we have had enough, enough of the situation or the endless repeat behaviours, enough of the conflict. We are looking for something different, a change in our lifestyle or in our way of being. We want to know if the person we are with is the right one, or if we should move on and find someone else. We wonder if we should take that job or stay where we are. Do we finally give up on something that isn’t working or hang on in there hoping for change? Whatever our reasons, we go because we are looking for a difference.
Each person is unique and has their own particular way of approaching therapy. They have their own requirements and expectations. Some see it as a sign, they feel they have reached the end of the line and they go because they feel desperate. Others see it as a way of ridding themselves of an immediate problem, a means to an end. Some see it as an ongoing process, a kind of mental gym where they seek to exercise and improve their emotional health along with their physical. The variables are endless.
So when is the right time to go and see a counsellor? Well, I’m not quite sure I could actually say. Perhaps, the first therapeutic act lies in the decision itself. Maybe in exercising our right to choose why and when the time is right for us, we are deciding ourselves and in doing so making the first steps on the road to change.
Image © Jacob Botter