Have you ever gone to counselling?
I hope so.
What? Does that mean I hope you’ve had some really hard times or serious mental illness in your life?
Well, no. There’s this stigma around counselling that says it’s only for the seriously messed up, or for the weak. "Resilient people don’t need counselling. Strong people can manage things on their own."
Other people will say that if you have good friends and support around you then you don’t need to find professional support.
Some people feel strongly that this kind of support should be free and get upset at the idea that everyone thinks they need to “buy” solutions – that is, pay for professional services.
I can see how people could get these ideas. But I have to say I disagree.
Firstly, strong people ask for help. Strong people can admit that they’re not coping and can express vulnerability. Counselling builds resilience by helping people reframe their problems, develop a more positive view of the future, identify their internal strengths and external supports that will help them move forward, and develop tools for healthier communication and relationships leading to enhanced feelings of social connection.
And yes, good friends and family support are essential. But I’m not sure that teenage peer groups are always going to offer healthy support. And yes, the more family anyone has, the better off anyone is going to be. But…
One of my social work mentors always used to ask me, “what’s the different between you and the person next door?” This teacher of mine, who had been an incredible social worker for decades, challenged me to apply academic theory and professional skills to help my clients.
Yes, I’m naturally a good listener and can be present with someone experiencing intense emotions – but there are also well tested theoretical approaches to guiding someone through challenging times, which are learnt – and the average neighbour just ain’t going to be the same.
Oh yes, and this idea that you shouldn’t have to buy support. This is especially prevalent in youth work. There’s this idea that the teacher or coach, who develops a professional one on one mentoring relationship with the troubled kid, should always be available and should offer this service free of charge.
Now, I’m not saying this is a bad idea, or that it never happens, and if you can find someone to be this support person for your daughter then awesome.
My mind straight away goes to the same question of professional practice.
Psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists and trained counsellors have a specific range of skills, knowledge, and theoretical approaches that the average sports coach or teacher simply does not.
Saying that, there’s also plenty of research that shows that whatever strategies a therapist employs, it’s always the quality of the relationship that contributes most to successful outcomes for the client – so a good therapist will have it all.
OK OK, I hope I’m making a point here that professional counselling is worth investing in. But what do you do if even when you know this, but your daughter is definitely NOT open to the idea?
Well, here are my three tips to convince your daughter to get counselling…
1. Call it something else.
Let’s accept that “counselling” has some stigma and perhaps the idea of coaching or mentoring is going to be more attractive to her. All successful people, in any area of life, have had some form of coaching or mentoring. When I first started teaching one of the older teachers watched my classes and coached me, I still get professional supervision for my social work/ counselling practice, I’ve invested significantly in business mentoring, I definitely have experienced Rites of Passage facilitators training and supporting me in that field of work, and I pay through the nose for professional emotional support.
All successful people have professional mentors.
2. Talk in term of what she wants.
To do this you first need to listen to her. What is she most struggling with at the moment? What does she want? Freedom, you to trust her, clarity, motivation, calmness rather than anxiety…? Whatever it is, find a way to genuinely link this desire to the likely outcomes from engaging with a professional coach/ mentor. If you need support to do this click HERE to book a free call with me.
3. Let her know that the choice of mentor is up to her.
Yep. Because she definitely wants autonomy. And it really is important that she connects and has a good relationship with whoever you’re paying for her to see. So let her know that it’s important that she try people out, and keep trying people out, until she finds the right fit for her.
I offer a free session for potential teenage Anxious to Awesome clients before they commit to the 6 week program. It’s just so important.
Click HERE for more info.