Problems are part of life that come in different shapes and sizes --- minor inconveniences to crisis situations that no one can even outrun or wish away. There is no other way to escape these trials of faith and sanity other that to face them head on.
Among the difficulties faced by people everyday, none is so distressing and painful as a relationship problem. Often, these relationship squabbles cause so much stress and depression. The fight between couples can become so overblown that the only way for the fight to end is for a mediator to come in. Sometimes, a mediator is needed as a third party “referee” or “peacemaker.” The mediator is also expected to provide the feuding parties the necessary guidance and counseling.
Still, many who are involved in a tussle refuse to acknowledge the need for counseling. Whether it is a married or engaged couple, siblings, or very close friends who suddenly became bitter enemies – the thought of seeking professional help just does not come to mind. Many are held back from asking for counseling due to the following reasons:
l State of Denial – Angry people sometimes deny the existence of a problem. With stubborn pride, an angry person can just fume away and dismiss the need to control anger and resolve a problem by saying that, “...this too shall pass.” People can also camouflage or mask their vulnerabilities by refusing to seek help. They see counseling as a situation that will expose themselves for who they are --- warts and all. That kind of vulnerability is avoided at all costs and, as a result, people who need help enter into a state of denial.
l Social Stigma – Most people have a misconception that only “crazy” or “insane” people go to therapy. This mindset prevents a lot of people from getting the help they need because they value more “what others think” about them rather than what they need emotionally and psychologically. They fail to see the value of professional counseling which is expected to be objective, scientific, and results-oriented.
l Plain Fear – The fear of facing the truth and reliving painful experiences like sexual abuse, physical abuse, drug addiction, or trauma from violent incidents prevent people from coming to a counselor. Remembering painful memories are usually part of counseling sessions and therapy. These memories cause fear and anxiety on the part of the patient.
But if a person in great stress or someone who is suffering from severe depression neglects to get proper therapy, it can be expected that the problem would get worse. Reopening a painful emotional wound is never pleasant but we will never be healed unless we learn to face and eventually cast away all painful memories of the past. Through counseling, people with serious problems can learn to adjust and cope with their present emotional and psychological struggles.
l Religious Stigma - Some associate counseling with religion or dogmatic beliefs, making the act of getting counseling uncomfortable for those who are not religious or are not into spirituality. While so many people have found comfort and refuge in church-based counseling sessions, many are still wary of getting counseling there since they think they will have to become a member of the church.
Some people are strong enough to face life's storms while others need to counseling to cope with problems. Either way, both take time and commitment so that one can see positive results, and hopefully, a resolution of problems that make life challenging.