University Village

Introduction

Overcoming Cultural Stigma Surrounding Counseling by Lani Elliott

Overcoming Cultural Stigma Surrounding Counseling by Lani Elliott

Counseling is a useful tool that can help people develop coping skills and process emotions and feelings. But for some, the negative stigma that surrounds therapy sessions is a major deterrent to seeking help. Despite a growing awareness of the benefits of counseling for people of all back-grounds and situations of life, this negative perception still makes some people hesitant about giving counseling a try. If cultural stigmas are holding you back from trying counseling, consider the following steps.

Recognize that you are not “crazy”.

Whether you are seeking professional help to address a mental illness, or simply to sort through an overwhelming number of emotions and thoughts, you should start by recognizing that you are not “crazy”. Have an open mind and put aside the stereotypes that you have seen in popular culture. Whether you are seeking counseling yourself or have a loved one who is in sessions with a professional, it is also important to avoid the temptation of putting a timeline on the process.

See the wisdom in asking for help.

If you are ready to seek counseling to address whatever challenges you are facing, you should not be embarrassed. In fact, you should be congratulated for having the prudence to ask for help. Seeking help is not something to be ashamed of but instead is an important step toward improving your quality or life. If you are dealing with an emotional or mental challenge, counseling sessions may be an appropriate and reasonable response.

Realize that you are not alone.

One of the fastest ways to erase the stigma associated with counseling is to realize that you are not alone. Because many people are hesitant to discuss their struggles, you may not realize just how common it is to seek some form of professional help, whether it is to work on an intimate relationship or process through a childhood trauma.

Start with yourself.

If you want to eliminate the stigma surrounding counseling, start with changing your own view. By having a healthy outlook of your own situation and goals in your therapy process, you will be able to speak more openly about it with others. While you do not need to share the personal details of your sessions, you also do not need to hide the fact that you are going to counseling from close family members or friends. Ultimately, your own view of yourself is more important than what others think. If you believe your counseling to be useful to you, that is what matters. Therapy is a powerful tool for overcoming challenges and improving your life.