Growing up, with black parents, we always heard counseling is for whites, you don't need to talk to anybody about your problems, just pray about it and God will handle it, and a lot more. BUT counseling is necessary for everyone, no matter your race, religion, et cetera. We tend to say we don't like telling our business to others but yet we post it on social media for the world to know about. Then we get upset, when others comment and question us about why we posted that. You rather put your life out there for the world but not seek help and get an unbiased answer about why you act the way you do.
"Counseling for me was necessary because it allowed a person who was non-biased about the person I am the space for me to express my feelings. Often I’m the friend that is strong or ppl see as emotion-less so when it comes to issues in my life I’m seldom given the opportunity to react emotionally like others who wear their hearts on their sleeves. In my first counseling session, I cried the entire time because I really never feel like I have a space to cry."
So I went to my followers on Twitter and asked the following questions:
Do you believe in counseling?
"Yes, it works for some people"
"Yes, counseling is good for those who want to seek the help they need"
Do you feel that counseling necessary?
"No, I don't think you need to go to counseling per se, but if it helps, it helps.
"Yes and no. It depends on the person and the trauma that they have been through."
"Also I think it’s important for people to have counselors who understand or identify the same way you do. So they can better understand me better as a person."
Do you have a counselor?
I need/looking for one 40%
"No, but I definitely need one"
"I got to the point in my life where I needed one again"
"Yes, I absolutely love her."
Do you like counseling?
"I am pretty sure, I would enjoy counseling"
"I love counseling, hearing her ask “so what’s been up? Anything new?” It gives me so much peace because it’s not someone I know personally or someone who will just tell me exactly what I wanna hear, I know when I vent she is definitely going to give me some insight and understanding that I can see from a different lens."
"I have a love-hate relationship with counseling. I love it because it helps me understand and process my traumas. But then I hate it because I hate being told about myself and how I am supposed to be acting. It's like I'm getting read weekly by a random who isn't random if that makes sense."
Has counseling helped you?
"Counseling has definitely saved my life...reviewing my goals with her from when I started in 2017 to now it’s like night and day, the results are impossible to ignore, even with med management, my sessions helped me regulate my emotions and mindset so I didn’t have to rely solely on medication."
"Counseling has helped me in a lot of ways. It's crazy how things work because I started counseling in May of 2017 and then I had the most life-changing experience happen to me in September of 2017 and I had someone there to help me through it."
Would you recommend counseling to your peers?
"I recommend counseling to any and everyone"
"I highly recommend it because the skills you learn can be used forever, you can get insight on situations you never even thought about. It’s always worth giving it a shot. I think of the times I had counseling after my Mom's passing and to the trauma up til now, it’s life-saving."
"I recommend counseling so much to my peers that they already know that my thoughts are 'You might want to seek counseling. You want my counselor number?' "
I also went around and asked counselors the following questions:
What made you become a counselor?
"I wanted to help people. I know that sounds cliche but it's the truth. I've always had a nurturing spirit and knowing how a person's mental health can affect them in every aspect of their life, I wanted to be able to help people become the best versions of themselves."
"Ultimately I want to help people. Just like anyone else, I’m far from perfect and have my own issues and struggles. Not to mention life’s experiences have shown me the need as well as the ability to be an asset to others. We are all one decision away from a life-changing moment. I hope to help others make better decisions for themselves."
"I became a counselor because of my own personal experiences with therapy. My first experiences with therapy were some of the hardest but most enlightening experiences of my life. Also seeing the limited amount of counselors of Color inspired me as well; I always wanted to use the knowledge and education I gained over the years to help people of color and counseling is a way for me to give back."
"I’m a social worker, not a counselor, but we do provide those services as well. When I decided to become a social worker, I was in it for children, but as I progress in the field, I find joy in helping everyone, regardless of age. It makes you feel good when you leave someone, knowing that you are playing a part in making their situation better."
"I love helping people and solving things. I used to want to be a lawyer or detective but those tracks can get very political. Like being hands-on with people helping them as much as I can."
Do you believe that everyone needs a counselor?
"Absolutely. We all need someone to talk to, someone to help us sort out what we have going on in our minds and in our lives. I know that people go to their friends or family for that, but we all need someone who can give us an unbiased perspective."
"Yes and no. I believe everyone can benefit from someone to talk to who is unbiased, objective and real. That isn’t always in the form of a “counselor” but very well can be. I think people have to decide what is right for them."
"I wouldn’t necessarily use the word “need.” I think it’s a great experience to have and recommend it to everyone. An individual can learn so much about themselves after attending a few counseling sessions."
"I believe everyone can benefit from counseling. It’s great to just have a judgment-free zone, someone to vent to or tell things too that you wouldn’t normally tell someone that’s close to you."
"Yes, I do. Everyone needs an outlet. Sometimes you just need to talk or need reassurance." How would you recommend counseling to someone who needs it?
"I would ask if they've ever thought about seeing a counselor. If they have any questions, I answer them honestly. If they have reservations about it, I provide as much assurance as I can."
"So many factors would determine my approach. How I would approach a friend vs a co-worker vs a total stranger would vary. But I feel I would start any approach with a conversation. I would let the person know that although I may not know or understand what is going on I care and would provide suggestions for them (for example a seeing a counselor) and let them know the decision is theirs. Be mindful if it was a life or death situation I’m a mandated reporter and I would do what I felt was needed to ensure safety."
"Recommending counseling can easily be misconstrued, so it’s important to make sure your approach is loving, empathetic, and supportive."
"I am very honest. I just come out and say it. For example. At school, if I notice a student is struggling with behavior, grades, hygiene, and peer relationships, I speak with the guardian about what I’m noticing and tell them that the child may benefit from counseling and they will most likely speak freely to someone that’s not a parent about their issues or whatever may be causing this behavior."
"I always ask people if they have someone that they talk to. I let them know counselors don't know you so the advisement given is strictly for you."
When should you seek counseling? What are the signs to look for?
"I don't believe there is any definitive time or situation that is the "ah-ha" moment to seek counseling. I do believe, however, that it is different for each person. Sometimes we just need to get our thoughts out of our heads and talk with someone who can be objective and honest with us. Granted, things like traumatic experiences....death/loss, abuse, romantic or platonic relationship issues, etc....are definitely significant circumstances that counseling could be beneficial."
"Seek counseling whenever! If you are not sure counseling is for you, it doesn’t hurt to contact a counseling agency and set up a consultation. However signs that you may need mental health help include but aren’t limited to coping skills are no longer working, isolation or being withdrawn, experiencing a traumatic event, overwhelmed by life stressors or thoughts of hurting yourself or others."
"Every individual’s emotional and mental wellness looks different. The biggest sign/red flag is an individual experiencing significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, and/or other important areas of functioning for an extended period of time. If an individual’s emotional and/or mental wellness is struggling for more than two months, this is an appropriate time to seek help from a mental health professional."
"Some people assume counseling is only useful when your depressed or have a severe mental illness, but you can seek counseling whenever such as making a difficult decision in life about a job. Trick question, because sometimes there are no signs. Look at me, I carry myself very well, and no one would know I seek counseling, so there are no signs that are always noticeable but ALWAYS be supportive, polite, and approachable to everyone because you never know. They just open up to you."
"Any time you feel lost or stuck or if there are serious issues going on. Anytime someone acts outside of their norm. Or if their norm brings them dissatisfaction or discomfort."
Can you seek counseling regardless of your race, age, and other demographics?
"Absolutely! There are counselors who specialize in various demographics. No one should ever feel afraid to seek help. As a matter of fact, you're a stronger person for seeking the help that you need!"
"Yes, of course. Depending on the person’s location, resources vary. But regardless of who you are, you can seek counseling services. I strongly encourage people to research counselors (or any professional providing a service for that matter) prior to meeting them. This can help ease any anxiety as well as determine if that counselor is the right one for you. It’s okay to shop around."
"Counseling is for everyone regardless of their demographics. People of color, low socioeconomic status, and older age tend to seek out therapy less because of the fear of judgment, being misunderstood, look down upon, or feeling like the professional has no relatability. Most individuals don’t realize that all counselors are not the same. It is okay to search around and be picky when choosing a counselor similar to how you would for other services."
"Yes you can and I encourage everyone one too"
So as you all know, I never do a blog post without telling you my experience. I've been in counseling since May of 2017. I have had three counselors. My first one set the tone for everyone else who came along. My second counselor one I didn't to much care about the fact that we couldn't get a connection. Now the one I have now, hands down love her point blank period. Anyways, I first sought counseling for my test anxiety. I never knew that my test anxiety would turn into regular anxiety within a few months later. I definitely would recommend counseling to any and everyone. To me, counseling is like having that friend that isn't going to judge you about what you have been through but is there to listen to you and help you process your thoughts. It helps you understand why you do certain things when you are triggered a certain way. When you feel lost and don't know what do to you have that person there ready when you are to talk about the situation that scares you the most or the trauma that you experienced years back. Honestly, I look forward to every Friday at 2 pm for my appointment because I know, just like all my friends know, that I'm about to sit there and give hell but know that I need to hear what she is telling me because it is true.
So I found a few resources to help you find a counselor.
Here's a podcast that will help you determine what kind of questions you need to ask yourself when looking for a counselor.
Apple Podcast Link:
Here is the list of the questions that Dr. Joy Harden Bradford discussed in her podcast.
So if you want to seek out counseling in your area here are some websites that will help you seek one near you. I also recommend contacting your insurance and seeing who they recommend as well, so you won't be paying an arm and a leg for counseling.
If you are in the Baton Rouge/Houston Area I totally recommend my counselor, Tiffany Beshears. Her site is: