Can Counseling Help Me? Where Do I Start? Because John Wayne Didn’t Go to a Counselor…

Dear Hagrid,

My wife says I should see a counselor for help, unless I’d rather move out.  I’d like to be mad at her for the ultimatum, but, honestly, I can see where she’s coming from.  I always said I’d never be like my dad, but I think I’ve turned into him. I don’t hit her, like my dad did to my mom, but I know I’m a butt when I don’t get my way.

Growing up, we made fun of people who went to counseling.  You were supposed to be John Wayne, I guess, and just figure it out by yourself.  Well, that hasn’t worked.   I know that I can be better than this. And I don’t want to lose my wife.  I love her.  But, counseling?  Can you help me understand how getting a counselor could help?


Dear Ex-John Wayne

Thanks for being real.  Humans tend to like talking in circles, avoiding the truth, and thus never really getting anywhere, whereas in the canine world, our noses are quite adept at scenting baloney.  You smell like a man who is ready to work to make needed changes, despite your anxiety about counseling (and those are elements of John Wayne that are worth keeping).  You also sound like a man who loves his wife.

Counselors are Like Trail Guides

Here’s the thing about going to counseling.  You are still the boss of you.  So don’t worry about losing your ability to make your own decisions about your life.

Some people go to counseling looking for someone to fix them.  Literally.  Like the counselor will have a magic wand to wave and all problems will be solved.  Like, they won’t have to take any actions or make any changes.  But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that change requires, well, change.

Without my help as a trail-guide, my sidekick would be stuck walking on the boring parts of the path, only staying on the paved trails, and thus missing out on all the best stuff. Thanks to me, she has had to run all over the place…

The counselor or therapist isn’t the one actually living your life.  You are.  It’s your path.  So, for change to happen, change has to be something that you commit to and then you follow that up by actions.  New healthy actions.  Over and over.  Until they become old habits. The most caring or skilled counselor in the world can’t make a dent in your problems unless you are willing to do the work, inside and outside of the counselor’s office.

Seeing a counselor is a partnership, of sorts.  They walk with you on your journey, like a mountaineering guide helping someone through a particularly difficult terrain—one you haven’t been able to get through all by yourself—but  it’s always your journey.  I know a lot about this because I help my human with this all the time. Continue reading Can Counseling Help Me? Where Do I Start? Because John Wayne Didn’t Go to a Counselor…