We live in the most technologically advanced era ever. Never before have we been so connected via social media, the internet at our constant finger tips. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, 24 hour email contact.
And yet never before have we been so alone. Screaming silently.
One of the greatest desires as a human being is to be known. To be listened to, to be heard.
In the fast-paced revolving door world we live in there is increasingly little room for this.
We forge on, faces covered in masks with fake smiles, pretending everything is alright while inwardly emotionally and psychologically we are wasting away from unresolved and buried issues.
Lost. Alone. Forsaken. Drowning.
Counselling offers the shore of a safe place where a professionally trained individual can provide a non-judgemental confidential listening ear as well as tools to support resolving personal or psychological challenges.
Counselling is not about a counsellor giving advice or telling one what to do. Instead it is the counsellor listening to his or her client and both parties working together to obtain a greater understanding of what has gone on and creating a way forward.
The idea of sharing your thoughts, problems and worries with family or friends may be accompanied by the fear of being judged, appearing weak or a failure, or just sheer embarrassment.
Communicating with a trustworthy neutral party outside your social circle who has a code of ethics with regard to confidentially and professionalism enables you to speak your mind freely while feeling safe and not judged.
The physical, emotional and mental benefits of sharing your struggles and challenges in an impartial setting, exploring potential underlying factors, looking at the negative manifestations of these in one’s life and working in partnership with a counsellor to move forward in a positive direction are vast and extremely powerful.
One of the greatest benefits of counselling is the greater degree of self-awareness that the individual develops. Having examined one’s emotions you begin to see yourself from a different perspective. A perspective of increased value and self-worth and one subsequently develops a greater confidence in life going forward despite what has gone on before.
Why then is it that the African community at large seems to shun or simply not believe in counselling therapy? Is it because we have historically prioritised physical well being over our mental health?
Opinions such as, “Therapy does not work”, “It is for people with severe mental issues” or “I can fix my problems myself”are common-place.
There is a misconception that counselling is for the weak. That once one starts therapy, they will have to go to sessions for the rest of their lives, while others are simply embarrassed to admit all is not well in some area of their lives.
It is common knowledge that in the black community and in particular for black women, we have been expected to stand up straight and smile through every struggle while pretending that all is well but slowly dying a little inside every day.
And what does this birth in our communities? Increasing rates of suicide, miserable lives spent self-medicating what we think is the problem with alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, emotional numbness, uncontrolled anger and unceasing bitterness. We blame everyone else for our problems and never stopping to consider the role we are actively playing in the continued madness that is the silent scream of our existence.
Worst of all, we pass these maladaptive behaviours to generations and generations of our children. What an ugly inheritance.
It is about time we stopped and took responsibility for our lives. It’s time to be heard. The story does not end where you currently are, you are in process.
Seeking counselling/therapy is a sign of strength and has benefits that far outweigh the cost.
My name is Barbara. Get in touch and let’s begin working on the rest of your life.