There are many cultures, including my own, where counseling is frowned upon and people feel judged for seeking counseling. Therefore, it is important to remove the stigma and talk about the real reasons that people seek counseling. I know that for hispanic people in the Burbank and North hollywood area, it may be easier to get help but the stigma may still be there, especially in the older generation. There are people that struggle with depression and they are afraid to accept the help because of the stigma. It is important to know that seeking counseling is confidential and it can make a real difference for that person. So I will name the things that counseling is not, so that you can feel better when you seek help or encourage a loved one to do so.
Counseling is NOT:
1. For people that are “crazy.”
Therapy is a conversation with another adult that understands you and is not judging you. You are free to talk to this person about anything going on, without the fear of being judged.
2. A place for all the weak people out there.
Going to therapy doesn’t make a person weak, as a matter of fact it can help make you stronger because you are facing some of your life challenges and this can help build you up.
3. A waste of money $$$.
Therapy can be considered an investment in yourself. People spend their money in different ways and some are more heplful than others. I think therapy is an investment in the self, in order to help you be the best version of you.
4. A place to go when you don’t have friends.
A therapist is not your friend, they are a trained professional that can help you improve your relationships. It is not just a place to go vent your problems but to learn ways to communicate and improve.
5. For those that are in a bad place.
Many people seek therapy once their situation has worsened but you do not have to be in a bad place to seek counseling. Counseling can also help you to improve your current skills and be a better person.
Remove the Stigma in Counseling
For these reasons, it is important to work on removing the stigma and look for counseling to help become the best version of you possible. Everyone can help to contribute to reducing stigma. One of the ways that you can help someone in need is by not judging them and being supportive of their decision to seek help. There are many people out there who can benefit from counseling services and it is best not to judge their situation. We are a life decision away from experiencing what that person is going through.
Wendy Salazar is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the city of Burbank. Please contact with furhter questions or to schedule an appointmentcontact me.