Yep. We go to counselling.
I spent 10 years in the dating world searching for and imagining my perfect husband. Justin spent 3 years married to someone else before he married me. And he’s never casually dated. Ever. (how we ended up together is a whole other story for another day.)
Needless to say, we each bring our own history and relational dynamics to our marriage.
So there we are in a counselling session. We sit awkwardly holding hands on faded floral couches with our McDonald’s drive-through coffees. The vertical blinds in the room are tilted just enough to let the daylight in, but not enough to expose our identity. Like counselling is something to be secret or shameful. The room is quiet.
Side note here, friends… counselling should not be shameful!!!! It should be celebrated and cheered for. Appropriately, of course. But it’s not shameful.
When someone is engaged in counselling, it means they’re engaged in their life and that they want to make progress toward wise, meaningful life-choices.
Why are we embarrassed to need counsel or coaching? Are we ashamed to be seeking support? Ashamed that we want healthier relationships?
I used to be surprised by people’s reaction when I told them Justin and I go to counselling. “Really? Why? What’s wrong?” with concerned intonations.
The truth is, nothing. Nothing is wrong.
We don’t go to counselling because we have a weak marriage. We go to counselling to build a strong one.
We’ve gone as often as monthly, to as spread out as every 6-8 months. To a professional. With a PhD.
What does that look like? We sit down and talk with someone much smarter and much wiser than us about how to have a healthy relationship.
Through counselling, Justin and I get to
- understand how our past impacts our present.
- learn the other’s needs in ways we don’t normally talk about.
- get an outside perspective to help us see beyond ourselves.
- dream about our future and what we hope our marriage and family will look like 2, 5 or 10 years down the road.
- explore what emotional intelligence looks like in our relationship. (it’s a valuable thing, let me tell you! More coming on this later.)
And you know what the best part of counselling has been? Someone leading us through how to have those important, meaningful conversations day to day.
What we have learned in counselling hasn’t stayed there. It’s given us tangible tools to build a strong marriage.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit… not all counsellors are the same and they’re not one-size-fits-all. Each one brings a unique approach, education and skill set to the table. There are even life coaches that tangibly support you to achieve future goals and ambitions.
One counsellor might not be very helpful… but that doesn’t mean all counsellors are not helpful. The next one could lead to a major breakthrough.
I have ALSO been to a counsellor when everything was NOT ok.
Because there are just times when I need more help and guidance than tea with a good friend can offer. (and I love my wisdom-filled tea or coffee dates!)
Good counselling costs less than stress-leave, sick-leave or divorce.
And frankly, life’s too short to live in pain when help is out there.
In North America, why does it seem more acceptable to pay for physical health with a gym membership but not for mental and emotional health with a counselling session?
Either way, the responsibility is still on you and I.
Showing up at the gym without exercising doesn’t make us any healthier than buying an apple and watching it rot. Same with counselling, we have to show up and engage.
I actually think we all need counselling. Because we’re all human. We’ve all been hurt or broken or confused by someone or something. And there is hope.
I just wish it was more socially acceptable.
So, let’s get over the shame of counselling and celebrate the pursuit of healthy, meaningful relationships and lives!
Want more practical insight into what counselling is like? A friend and excellent local counsellor, Jordan Mason, is interviewing us over on his blog this week (Wednesday!). Check it out.
What about you? How do you feel about counselling?
Looking for counselling or coaching?
Here are some great professionals we recommend based on personal experience in the Barrie and Orillia area:
Next Step Counselling | Barrie & Orillia
Mason Counselling | Barrie
Dan Barber Coaching | Orillia