"Tis the mind that makes the body rich."
If you have a cold, you see your physician. If you break a bone, you’re off to the radiologist for your X-ray, and then the orthopedic doctor to make sure your bones are in order. Lady check-ups call for gynecologists, while teeth cleanings are for your dentist to handle. Your health maintenance may involve a longer list if you have glasses (ophthalmologist) or asthma (pulmonologist).
These visits are necessary for a clean bill of health and a long, healthy life, however, it seems that among the various yearly checkups we make to the doctors, we tend to leave one to the side.
Your mind is like any other part of you that needs care and maintenance. Some may need more and some less, but a checkup should be in order just like for every other part of your body. Why is it that we tend to neglect our minds? Why does this seem to be the body part that is not addressed until it reaches a critical point?
While it appears to be diminishing, there is still a stigma attached to seeing a counselor or psychologist. The concept that only "sick/weak/wrong/etc” people seek counseling is a thought that occurs to many people when they are deciding whether or not to seek counseling. The person may think that, by going to a counselor, they are admitting that they are “crazy” or not normal. These are the thoughts that can keep people from the help they need.
Expense can also be an issue. Going to counseling may seem daunting if you are in a financially tenuous situation. The good news is that there are an increased number of counselors who volunteer and offer sliding-scale fees so that you can see them. The sliding scale fee works when the patient’s income is evaluated to see how much they could safely afford for counseling. This allows the patient to receive counseling services, while not leaving them hungry.
What about the fear of discovery? Most laws do not allow a counselor to divulge any information about their patients. Note: the only time the rule can be broken is when the patient is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or others. And no, your counselor won’t call the police if you admit illicit activates short of murder. The only way someone could access your confidential information is if the police hand out a warrant. At that point, there may be bigger concerns afoot.
It is important to go to someone who is trained and certified to perform counseling. Also, if confidentiality is very important, you would want a certified counselor who is bound by confidentiality laws. There are other outlets for counseling available such as family members, local priests or clergy members. These people are not strictly bound by confidentiality laws. While it would be a huge breach of trust for them to reveal information about your sessions, it is not unlawful for them to do so.
Even if you feel that your mind is the picture of perfect health: what is there to lose by checking in with a professional? Feel free to shop for your therapist or counselor, like you would a fine coat; you want the perfect fit. Don’t be afraid to stop seeing a counselor because you didn’t feel a connection or fit. This is perfectly normal. Once you find someone you feel comfortable with, you can discuss what you want from your visits. Perhaps you may want to stop by more than once a year, but not every week. If something starts to develop, your counselor might be the first to point it out, before the issue becomes a fuller scale problem.
The mind is a very important part of health. Your mind controls your body. A healthy mind is known to lead to a healthier body. A healthy mind is also linked to a stronger immune system, better sleep, and success. You may be surprised when a problem, that you think is medical and pertaining to your body, is actually anxiety, stress, or even depression.
And if it happens to be that you have one of the many disorders such as anxiety, insomnia or depression, that’s fine too. Early detection and treatment lead to an increase in success, just like any body ailment. Anxiety might be as manageable as your asthma. Depression may need monitoring like your blood pressure. Still, it’s all the same, isn’t it? A check here, a test there, some maintenance to top it off, and you’re good to go.
So why not step into an office?