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  • Gary Probst

Why Counseling Works!


Let’s talk about counseling sessions.

People resist counseling because of a variety of reasons.

  • They fear it won’t work

  • They don’t want to admit to somebody they have a problem

  • They fear embarrassment

  • They feel they are exposing a weakness or flaw to a stranger

  • They feel they will be judged

  • They fear others will find out and think less of them

  • They feel they will be wasting their time

I can’t speak for others but here’s what meeting with me is about.

I solve problems. I find solutions. I educate, educate, educate.

Remember when FDR told the nation, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”?

That’s the situation with counseling. Fear drives the anxiety and issues that lead to the need. When you have information and understand why you do what you do and, just as important, why others do what they do and why they do them to you, you become empowered. You have control back. You can begin to see issues as an observer and deal with them, not from the point of view of a victim but, rather, as a person observing to find solutions.

I counsel as your advocate the same way an attorney should be representing you. I teach you to represent yourself. I teach you to understand yourself and those around you.

At the first session, I will ask questions about what is happening and seek connections to the problem, such as a parental issue or a spouse with a parental issue. I will review the dynamics of your life, to date, to see if embedded thoughts and neural connections are hampering your life. I will also seek, through questions, to rule out any biological influence. Is there a biological imbalance that leads to a treatable mood disorder? Does the person demonstrate delusional thought? Does the person merely have generalized anxiety that may stem from genetics? The first session is about trying to find the root of the issue, so we can begin the educational mission to help you prune back negatives and nurture the positives.

I do find that most people who come in are dealing with generalized anxiety issues, through a combination of genetics and life experience. Often, I find people suffering from an acute stress problem, caused by what somebody in their life is doing to them or around them. These are quite treatable, sometimes with a referral to an MD for some medicinal help but often through talking about the situation and educating the person about the “why” that is often the base of the question. Via learning and finding the ability to put things into perspective, people can move themselves out of the role of the person being persecuted to that of the person regaining control of the problem.

Negative happenings in our lives create neural connections within the brain that help us cope with negativity. Those connections are literal electrical synapses, like the little solder streams on the circuit board of your computer. Your brain is like the hard drive, where memories are stored and meaning is assessed to those occurrences. Through therapy, we can trim back some of those negative connections and allow you to build more positive ones. It is sort of like deleting bad programming from your computer. Remnants may remain. We overpower the remnants with new and stronger thoughts. Those with severe abuse and trauma in their lives will always have remnants to deal with. However, we can overcome those remnants with positive self-talk.

Negative thoughts and actions are not from God. They may be from other humans or the true nemesis of God. No matter the origin, they are fruitless, pointless and harming. They create a massive waste of human emotion; talent; thought and potential.

For those suffering and considering therapy, consider this. How will you change things without some help? Without knowing the causation of the pain and ways to repair it, you can try home remedies or, far worse, alcohol, drugs, gambling, excessive shopping, pornography, adultery or self-harm. None of those really work and they cause destruction. The self-destruction builds new neural connections that say “I’m no good” and your brain will actually push you toward more negative activity to prove the theory to itself, thus---addiction.

Fear not the help God has provided through research and medical information. Fear not the person who truly wants to help and has the education to do so. Most people have some sort of mental health problem. The strong are the ones who do something about it. Be strong!


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© 2019, The Matthew Project, Inc., Hartford Counseling and Life Span Family Services