Let’s face it: life can get crazy and some of the twists and turns can be hard. Sometimes, it feels like there’s a force bigger than us pushing us down, with no way to get back up. Luckily, there are professionals out there who can help.
Getting counseling is not easy and it takes a great deal of courage to admit that you need it. Once you get there, having a friend or loved one close by is imperative. Whether getting counseling because of drugs, alcohol, depression or anything else, the right support is key.
If you know of someone who’s undergoing counseling, here are six key aspects to help them in their journey.
- Be kind. It was highly likely very hard for that person to admit they needed help. In recovery, they may become even more aware of their past actions and be ashamed. This feeling is enough to have them run back to their pacifier of choice. Being a kind friend and a non-judgmental shoulder to cry on will go a long way with this person. They’re a human being who just needs a little extra help.
- Remember that there’s likely a deeper problem. As friends, we want to help with that deeper issue, but sometimes we don’t know how. Encourage the person to seek professional counselling and get to the bottom of the problem to fix it from the inside out. There are many recovery centers that help people do this, such as the Soba College Recovery
3. Be there. Some people have the best intentions when they say, “Just call me if you need me.” The thing is, a person undergoing counselling may not actually want to call because they may feel like a burden if they do call. The best thing to do is to ask something like, “What can I do?” Or offer, “I can pick up your cat from the vet today.” Even if they say no, it’s a lot easier to say yes when an offer is presented, than to conjure the courage to call and ask for a favor.
4. Don’t push. If they’ve confided in you that they’re undergoing counseling, this isn’t the time to be an inspector and ask for the details of their session. Don’t pry and don’t ask them about their session but be open when they do want to talk about it. Also, keep in mind they may never want to talk about it and you need to be OK with that.
5. Be patient. This person may go through different iterations of counseling either with the same counselor or others. They may quit therapy, go back to their old habit, quit that, go back to therapy and declare they’re done for good until they use again. Remember that this isn’t about you and that all you can do is be there for them. Don’t take it personally and be patient.
6. Take care of yourself. It may seem strange to include this especially after you just read that this is not about you. Yet it’s important to take care of yourself by seeking even counseling for your own mental stability when helping another. When we are someone’s support, we need to check in with a professional to make sure that we aren’t depleting our energy to the point of rejection of our own lives. Check in and ask yourself if listening to this person’s problem isn’t an avoidance of your own.
Counseling is a great way to talk out problems, be heard and work out the demons that ruminate in our minds. Remember to be there for that person and show them love. The only way they can elevate themselves is by deciding to do so. When they do, be a friend and offer support while they go through their process.