I am a counselor at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando, and that is one of the questions I often hear asked by people who don’t really want to be seeing a counselor. It is usually followed up by the statement. “Talking about my problems doesn’t change anything.” That is certainly one possibility and I respect peoples’ right to have that viewpoint. I would just like to share my perspective on the point of ‘talking about things’.
When people come to counseling and talk about their life experiences, it is not just a factual reporting of the experience.Their verbalizations are most likely connected to something inside them that makes the experience real for them. In other words, I believe peoples’ words are most often expressions of their experience of reality.As I listen, I am not just listening to the content of the words but also to the person’s perceptions of reality as conveyed through the words.
As part of the process of counseling, I reflect back to clients what I hear them saying about how they perceive reality—a kind of mirroring.This is where the change can begin to happen.Often, we do not know how we perceive things until we ‘see’ them through this kind of mirroring.Once “stuff” becomes more obvious to us, we can then begin to be curious about it.Are our perceptions and beliefs true?How did we develop them?Do we really want to see it the way we currently are seeing it?
Some realities are true and nothing can change them.If someone I love dies, or leaves me in some other way, or if I lose my job or my house, or I have a challenging health situation, those things are what they are.The person, the job, the house, the good health, etc. are gone or not what we want them to be.Talking about that does not change that.Most times, however, we attribute the “events of fact” in our lives with particular meanings beyond the factual reality.“My mother died…and I can’t be happy without her.”“I lost my job…and I am a loser.”“My house is in foreclosure….and I will soon be living on the streets.”
It is these extra things we add to the facts that reveal how we perceive the reality.It is our perception of reality that then often influences how we cope with the reality.If I am affected by my fear that I will be out on the streets, then I most likely will not be free enough to explore the options and be creative in finding solutions.If I believe I cannot be happy without a certain person in my life, then I most likely will miss the opportunities for happiness that are still abundant in my life.
As people talk about their problems, counselors can help them discover the meanings they attach to their problems.As these meanings are explored, probed, and perhaps challenged, change can happen.And all of this, just from talking.Imagine!!
If you decide that you want to talk about your concerns, please click here to read about Life Skills Resource Group Orlando counselors and life coaches. You can contact any of us for a free phone consultation or to schedule an appointment. Jean