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Is Mental Health Counseling Stressful?

Starting mental health counseling can be an intimidating experience. After all, it can be difficult to open up to a stranger about deeply personal issues. Especially if you haven’t spent time in counseling before, it’s common to worry that mental health counseling will be stressful. However, it’s important to remember that mental health counseling is ultimately designed to help patients build healthy coping skills to navigate life’s challenges, including stress.

At Columbia Associates, our experienced mental health counselors understand that there can be challenges during the counseling experience, from initial hesitations to feelings of vulnerability or shame. But the clinical mental health counseling we provide should reduce stress, not add to it. Our counselors and therapists are supportive and warm and strive to create a safe, non-judgmental space for their patients.

If you’re ready to start mental health counseling in Maryland, Virginia, or D.C., don’t let the fear of stress stop you from getting the help you need. Call 703.682.8208 today to schedule an appointment.

Common Reasons Starting Mental Health Counseling Can Be Intimidating

Many people who would benefit from counseling put off getting help because they’re intimidated by the unknown. Here are a few of the common factors that can make starting mental health counseling intimidating:

  • Fear of vulnerability – Opening up to a stranger about your innermost thoughts and feelings can be daunting.
  • Fear of judgment – Many people fear that their counselor will judge them harshly or think less of them.
  • Uncertainty – Not knowing how the counseling process works can make it hard to take that first step.
  • Fear of failure – Some people worry that they won’t be able to make progress in counseling or aren’t capable of doing the work.
  • Past trauma – Many of those who have been through significant trauma are understandably hesitant to open up about it, even in a counseling setting.

While these fears can feel powerful and real, it’s important to remember that mental health counseling is designed to be a safe, non-judgmental space where you can process your thoughts and emotions without fear of being judged. As soon as counseling starts, the stress of facing these fears should abate.

What to Expect in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Instead of stress and fear, clinical mental health counseling should be an experience of comfort and understanding. Therapy is, above anything, collaborative. This means that your counselor or therapist will work with you to create goals for the counseling process and develop strategies to help you reach those goals.

Counseling doesn’t just focus on things about you that you don’t like. It also looks at your strengths and encourages you to use them in new ways to tackle life’s challenges, including stress. It’s important to remember that the process works best if it is a collaboration between you and your counselor, not just “assigned homework” from a script.

At times, counseling can feel difficult. Working through your past experiences, behaviors that don’t work for you, and negative emotions can be challenging. But with the right counselor or therapist, you should find that you’re not alone in confronting these challenges and that you’re able to work through them.

Make Moving Forward Easier at Columbia Associates

At Columbia Associates, our experienced clinical mental health counselors provide warm, supportive services to individuals and families in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. We know that starting mental health counseling can be stressful, and our services are designed to put patients at ease and help them make progress.

If you’re ready to start the counseling process, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703.682.8208 or reach out to our team online today.