In this holiday season, when planning your gifts, consider giving the gift of mental health counseling. Counseling can be obtained inexpensively, or at least, cost effectively, with a little forethought and investigation of your existing insurance resources. See my previous blog on The Gift of Counseling at http://saline.patch.com/blog_posts/the-gift-of-counseling.
Many people shy away from counseling, even though it is one of the most accesible ways to feel better, and even attain lasting happiness. Many misconceptions exist. For instance, "it won't help to talk about it," "I am strong enough to deal with it myself," etc. There is some stigma as well. Counseling is for the "mentally ill." This could not be further from the truth. While it is a fact that many people seeking counseling can be depressed, suffer from anxiety, or have another diagnosable "disorder," it is also true that many simply need help getting over a hump in their lives, or getting past a negative situation they might have experienced. While the practice of counseling is a form of art, best practices that are often used to help someone get from point A to point B are based on scientific theories and research. Counselors are often people with at least a Master's degree, if not a Ph.D.
Counselors often teach skills, such as stres management or reframing your thoughts, that help people move forward. Once acquired, these skills are yours to keep, as tools to help with other situations that might come along in life. Remember counseling could be the gift of a lifetime, or maybe even the gift of life itself, for yourself or your loved ones.
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