How Can Counselling Help you?
Frustrated, Worried, Feeling Helpless or Emotionally Stuck
Overcome Through Psychological Counselling and Turn Life Challenges into Personal Growth Opportunities
Almost every day, we see reports of suicide, domestic abuse and cases of people running away from home. This is a clear sign that many Hongkongers are highly stressed. Can psychological counselling help us handle stress better? Counselling is an avenue that helps us regulate and cope with our emotions. Having an “emotional check-in” with a counsellor from time to time improves our emotional health and mental well-being.
When we feel tired, frustrated, fed up with life and even feeling helpless, talking to family and friends about these feelings may only elicit a response: “There is nothing wrong, everyone feels the same way. Just look on the bright side!”. Such a response does not make us feel better, instead, it can make us feel more lonely and not understood by others. Alternatively, rather than confiding in others, we may choose to keep our feelings to ourselves and comfort ourselves with the thought that the feelings will pass the next day. But what if they do not go away, would surface repeatedly and causing sleepless nights? Perhaps, we should pause for a while and reflect on the following instead: “Have I felt unhappy for no reasons lately?” “Did I recently throw a fit of anger?” “Do I feel somewhat guilty after that angry outburst despite being unable to control myself?” “Am I getting more critical of others?” “Is my relationship with others deteriorating?” “What exactly is happening to me?”
Prevention is Better than Cure
Many do not think of consulting a psychological counsellor when they are troubled, feeling that something not quite right with themselves but yet putting up a strong front despite their distress. Even when they cannot find someone to confide in, up to the point when they start losing hope of getting better, counselling does not appear as a possibility that can help address their emotional concerns.
Sometimes we rationalize our sufferings and unease as a way of coping to life challenges. We may also blame ourselves, asking how we could have done better. There can be times when we feel that others, such as our spouses, colleagues etc., are responsible for the problems we experience. These emotional anguishes can slowly numb us, making us start ignoring our pain and anxiety. If unaddressed, our mental well-being will be affected in the long run.
What exactly is psychological counselling? It is not a treatment meant for clinical patients. Psychological counselling is for personal growth and help us to improve our coping mechanisms, thereby enabling us to live a happier and more efficacious life. We can take preventive steps to manage an issue before it worsens by engaging with a counsellor. A counsellor can guide us in sort out our feelings and thoughts, and also identify any blind spots that we may have overlooked.
People may be deterred from engaging the service of a counsellor as they may not understand or accept the fact that they need to seek help from others to help themselves. Then there is also the issue of having to pay for the services. Furthermore, they may be concerned that by seeking the services of a counsellor, others may think that there is something wrong with them and that they are useless. Or, they believe they can resolve the issues themselves with their positivity.
Life Challenges are Opportunities
Psychological counsellors are professionally trained therapists, who are skilled at applying different interventions to help us alleviate our emotional stress. They act as the clients’ mirror, working with a neutral and accepting attitude to help clients open up and identify their blind spots. Through the process, clients gain more clarity about the challenges they have experienced, learn to let go and improve their coping skills. In short, counsellors enable their clients to move on in life with their emotional burden relieved.
In the West, it is very common for people to turn to counsellors for help. However, in Hong Kong, counselling seems to be a taboo as people appear concerned about its stigma. Counselling does not involve drug therapy and counsellors do not make any clinical diagnosis. Counsellors are professionals, who care about supporting people when they meet with challenges in life, walk with them through the difficult times as an objective companion and enable them to emerge as better individuals. These unbiased companions are thus the best persons to help us face life challenges and turn these into opportunities for self-growth.
The Companions believes that Hong Kong can be a better place when more people understand and embrace the value of psychological counselling.
Self-help in Managing Short-Term/Temporary Emotional Distress
- Confide in family and friends, requesting that they only listen
- Take a day off to take a walk in nature
- Do moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes each day
- Find a focus in other areas, such as volunteering
- Write down your anxious feelings on a nightly basis before heading to bed, and imagine your anxiety flowing away through the tip of the pen