Mental Health

Psychology

Therapy

Mandy Kloppers

Common Problems that lead to counselling

There are many common problems that lead to counselling, and the reasons are as varied as the many predicaments and life circumstances that exist for all people. Everyone has something that is causing them some sort of distress. Relationships, a difficult boss, an inability to socialise without fear and anxiety are all among the most common reasons for people seeking therapy and/or counselling.
For some, the thought of counselling is daunting and many aren’t sure if their problem even warrants a trip to a counsellor.
If the problem is causing you distress and especially if it is adversely affecting your day to day existence, it’s probably time to ask for help.
Here are a few of the most common problems that lead to counselling:

1)Relationships

Many people who come to see me are stuck in unhappy and unfulfilling relationships. They are often at a crossroads and are unsure whether to stay or go. Some relationship issues are easier to sort out than others and it helps to be able to chat through what is going on and decide whether there is a possible resolution. I am often amazed at the types of relationships people are willing to stay in. Relationships where there is verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and sometimes physical abuse. People find all sorts of ways to justify the situations they are in and a therapist is often the one to add a bit of reality to the situation and help a client see more clearly. Others are in relationships where there is no love, communication, or togetherness yet they stay out of fear. Other issues: gay/straight relationships. Stepfamilies. Difficult family members. Marriage and divorce. All of this can often be effectively dealt with in counselling.

2)Feeling Stuck/Directionless

Society conditions us to be a certain way and places pressure on us to conform. As a result, many of us lose our true selves in the process and end up lost and directionless. I have seen numerous clients who are incredibly successful financially and have everything they could possibly want in life – on the outside life looks great. Yet delve a little deeper and they are miserable. They feel they do not have the right to feel miserable and so guilt is also added to the equation just to spice things up a bit. This feeling of ‘ennui‘ is often down to the fact that they have chased goals that weren’t actually their ideals but rather the ideas placed upon them by others and society. Problems that lead to counselling can take a while to surface as we often deny our issues and stick our heads in the sand as a way to cope. Pretending they aren’t there just prolongs the problems. I can assure you that problems rarely go away on their own when the pattern is repetitive and long-standing.

3) Mid Life Crisis

There are no hard and fast rules that can be applied to everybody in life. It pays to be a counsellor who is good at adapting to the needs of the client and figuring out underlying issues that are presenting as symptoms. For example…a man in his early fifties came to see me and was anxious, thinking of commencing an affair with a colleague and was incredibly unsure of which path to take in the future. The underlying issue was a fear of old age and fading away. Of having missed out..losing his youth his corporate sense of identity.
Once we tackled his underlying identity issues, he was in a much better place to make the right decision. He decided to stay with his wife although I have had clients choose the other alternative. There is no right or wrong path – only the path that suits each client.

4)Stress and Anxiety

Modern-day life can suck the life force out of you… bills, taxes, road rage, injustice, monotony, and corrupt politicians. All of these can affect us and create untold stress and worry. Most clients worry far too much and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)is a great antidote for this common affliction.
Learning to live a life that is “inside-out” rather than “outside-in” is a great way to reduce stress. Focus on changing you rather than the outside world – a much more accessible route and you will feel more empowered.
Three other tips: Acceptance, Mindfulness and Unhooking from your thoughts.
Stress puts us into a constant ‘fight or flight’ mode which takes its toll on our bodies and causes fatigue and in the long run, depression is likely.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help a client to find ways to strategise and cope with stress in pro-social ways instead of eating too much, drinking too much alcohol or engaging in other unhelpful behaviours to try to deal with the problem.

5) Lack of Confidence/Self Esteem/Self Doubt

Problems that lead to counselling can be related to a person’s confidence and self-esteem. The way they were treated as a child has a lot to do with this as well as any significant episodes in early life such as bullying at school. Counselling helps an individual to challenge self-limiting beliefs about themselves and look at the benefits of why they choose negative thoughts and engage in negative inner chatter.
Sometimes, the beliefs are so ingrained and automatic that we don’t even realise we are doing it yet we constantly undermine our potential by being negative and pessimistic. Counselling can help to reverse and ‘unlearn’ this type of behaviour.
The above is a brief summary of the common problems that lead to counselling.  There are so many more issues that are presented in counselling ranging from transgender issues, cross-dressing to fetishes, phobias, addictions and personality disorders.
if you feel you need a little bit of extra help from a nonjudgemental therapist then you should definitely give counselling a try. You have nothing to lose and potentially an enormous amount to gain.
Mandy X
I am a BABCP qualified counsellor, if you feel you need help – get in touch. I’d be happy to help you.