When is the right time for counselling?
Unlike our physical health, it is very common for people experiencing emotional discomfort to put off seeking help, and there are a multitude of reasons for this.
The ‘stiff upper lip’ approach to life is something that has been embedded in British culture for years; the ability to stay strong and emotionally restrained in the face of adversity. Many shy away from thinking about emotions, expressing them or talking about them, concerned that to do so represents one or any combination of the following; a lack of maturity, weakness, and being out-of-control.
When we experience physical pain we respond to it far more quickly than we do emotional pain yet apart from serious injury and illness, emotional pain often has a much bigger impact on our lives, affecting the way we think and behave. On the whole, we take care of our physical injuries far more compassionately. When we have a cut we will treat it with anti-septic, dress it and keep a close eye on it for signs of infection. When our thoughts, feelings or behaviour change we have a tendency to ignore them in the hope that they will get better on their own; we believe giving attention will make things worse.
When we are struggling emotionally, our thoughts about ourselves, our lives and those around us are far more negative. This impacts on our ability to feel motivated and in our confidence that we can be helped and supported.
Like physical injury, however, it is better to get help for our emotional stress sooner rather than later, to prevent further deterioration and start the process of recovery.