Myths About Counselling

Myth 1: Going to Counselling means I’m weak, flawed, or ‘crazy’

Reality:  Majority of people going for counselling are ordinary, everyday people dealing with ordinary, everyday problems.  Many people who attend counselling are bright, skilled, and stable people. These individuals are often struggling with problems in a specific area and seeking personal growth and development. Stressors and difficulties are a part of life for all people. Many argue that the ability to ask for and accept counselling help represents clear evidence of intelligence and sanity.

Myth 2: Counselling is only for problems that are severe

Reality:  Most individuals seek counselling for everyday issues like relationship problems, stress, and symptoms of depression. It is true that counselling can be helpful for individuals suffering from severe problems. However, seeking counselling for problems at this level does not represent the majority of clients in counselling. Additionally, attending counselling when problems are mild to moderate can prevent problems from becoming severe.

Myth 3: A Counsellor does not know me and can’t help me

Reality:  Actually, this is one of the most important reasons why counselling can be successful. Since a counsellor is not a part of your day to day life, they are capable of being more impartial with less bias. Oftentimes, family and friends tell you what you should do. Counselling involves a unique relationship where you are encouraged and challenged to find the answers that are right for your life.

Myth 4: Counsellors just sit there, nod, and stay silent

Reality:  Many stereotypes and depictions of Counsellors in movies have led to their image being “touchy-feely”, reading your mind, detached, or ineffective. Most Counsellors today are active and engaged, using questions, reactions, and interventions to help you move towards your goals. It will be important to consider how active you want your Counsellor to be and inquire about this when working to find a Counsellor that is right for you.

Myth 5: Counselling takes forever

Reality:  The length of counselling depends on the client’s goals, motivation, and the severity of the problems brought into counselling. However, most counselling is short-term, generally lasting between eight and fifteen sessions. Good Counsellors are invested in helping you meet your goals so you can successfully operate independent of counselling.

Myth 6: The counselor will “fix” my problems

Reality: Counselling is not a “quick fix” to cure to your problems. The counsellor’s role is to help you reflect and explore your feelings, thoughts, and concerns, to examine your options, and assist you in achieving the goals you set.

Myth 7: Everyone will know I’m seeing a Counsellor, including my Assistant Dean

Reality:   Counsellors are bound by professional ethics to protect your confidentiality and privacy both during counselling and after counselling ends.  Only in extreme cases where someone is in imminent danger or a judge mandates release of counselling records can confidentiality be broken. Outside of these circumstances, information can only be shared if you share it or you provide written authorization for releasing information.

Myth 8: If I will be hospitalised if I go for counselling

Reality:  In most situation, you will only be working privately in the counsellor’s office.  Only in extreme cases where someone is in imminent danger AND the counsellor cannot be assured of your ability to keep yourself or someone’s safe that a risk assessment needs to be undertaken in the hospital.  In such case, the Psychiatrist in the hospital makes the call in deciding the need for hospitalisation base on the level of risk and safety.

Myth 9: Counselling will change who I am forever

Reality:  Counselling will not require you to make changes you do not like, that you are not ready for, or that go against your beliefs and values. Counselling is designed to facilitate positive change. It is important to keep in mind that you are in charge of the change that you make. If you are unhappy with the changes that are happening, tell your Counsellor. Counsellors want to help you change in the ways that feel beneficial to your life.