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Your Healthy Family: Reducing stigma around therapy and counseling

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We're talking about the negative stigma that can surround seeking help through counseling, with Michelle Mabel with Mayfield Counseling in Colorado Springs.

Many people can have the perception that seeking help through counseling is a sign of weakness, or is only for people who have serious mental health issues.  Michelle says that's just not true.

“To struggle is part of being human.  Years ago I sought counseling because there were areas in my life that were not working and I couldn't figure out how to fix them.  Through counseling I developed the tools that I needed to change those areas in my life and to develop an understanding and compassion for myself.  We can all feel stuck in certain areas and can find ourselves reacting instead of responding, and were not sure why.  Our relationships are the most important things in our lives and yet often we don't know how to improve them.”

Therapy and counseling can be a journey for those who open themselves up to the process says Michelle.

“Therapy is about discovering our true and whole self, the good and the bad.  It's about uncovering unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that are not working well for us.  Once those are identified we can begin to question them, and change them to healthier coping mechanisms.”

While the negative stigma in the minds of some people is that counseling is a sign of weakness, Michelle emphasizes the opposite is true.

“Counseling is not for the weak in fact it takes a lot of courage to face your pain.  On the other side (of counseling) is freedom, clarity, and joy.  I believe that everybody can benefit from counseling.  The worst part of having a negative mental health stigma is that it keeps people from getting the help they need.”

Michelle also points out that wanting to shy away from things like counseling that may make us feel uncomfortable is certainly normal.  Many times when we dull our negative emotions to cope with them, we also tend to dull the positive emotions as well.  If you feel your are struggling if you feel your teenager is struggling don't be afraid to reach out for help.

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