Sometimes we all want a miracle solution for our problems. Especially after getting out of a bad relationship, the natural desire is to just feel better, now. It may be a frustrating saying, but time does heal wounds. While counseling isn’t an instant fix, the process is truly what’s important. Taking all the time you need to explore the past and think about the future can be invaluable in strengthening and rebuilding your life.
Today we’re continuing our conversation with clinical psychologist Martha Ramos Duffer to learn more about the ins and outs of deciding to start counseling, and how you can tell if it’s working for you.
Some people want to know that therapy is working. What is a good indicator of this?
At the beginning of the therapeutic process, every therapist and client should work together to identify goals and specific ways that they will know they’re moving toward those goals. This can be helpful in determining if therapy is working for you. Overall every therapy that is working will, over time, result in a person feeling increased self-awareness, capacity to choose, clarity and peace.
If you want to have the luxury of your own space to explore yourself then individual therapy is great for that. In individual therapy you can explore your own feelings and goals much more deeply.
Is therapy for everyone? When’s the right time to start therapy?
If you feel that therapy might be helpful, sooner is always better. Therapy can be beneficial for everyone because it’s a place where you can learn increased self-awareness, clarify your goals and look at the choices in front of you.
That being said, there are many things in life that can be therapeutic. If you don’t feel comfortable with therapy there are other healing practices you can explore like journaling, spending time in nature, cultivating friendships and networks, being part of community groups or volunteering. There are many activities that can be as healing as therapy.
What are the differences between group counseling and individual counseling?
In general, both can be very beneficial, and I would recommend that people consider the type that they feel most comfortable in. If you want to focus more on interpersonal skills, want to know how you come across to other people, and want to hear from experiences from other people in their growth processes, then group counseling is wonderful for that.
What advice would you give someone who is apprehensive about counseling?
Entering counseling does not necessarily mean that you are mentally ill or can’t cope on your own. Therapy is about how much you’re putting in place to support yourself in healing and succeeding.
Have you thought that therapy might be a good choice for you? Whether you’re struggling in an abusive relationship or trying to heal after leaving one, getting in touch with a counselor to strengthen your support system can have a powerful effect. Give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE and our advocates can help you locate counselors in your area.
In our post on Counseling for Domestic Violence Survivors we talk more about breaking the isolation of domestic violence by seeking counseling and support.
This PDF brochure from the National Association of Social Workers has a helpful checklist of positive indicators when determining if your counselor is the right fit for you.