Human beings are complex. Our brains are tangled labyrinths of intricate, often convoluted thoughts and feelings, and they get even more complicated when you add mental illness and difficult life situations- like global pandemics, for example.
Everyone deserves a place to express themselves without judgement or fear, and a counsellor can provide that. That’s why more people are seeking professional help. And it’s no wonder that more people are consulting professionals because counselling is now more accessible than ever. People can now contact a professional from the comfort of their own homes.
If you are empathetic, open-minded and reasonable, getting your counselling qualification might be a good idea. It isn’t only about mental health- there are so many types of counselling. Grief counselling, substance abuse counselling, and marriage counselling. You can even counsel people on financial and career-related matters. Finding your niche and remaining informed on what your patients are going through could enable you to greatly improve the lives of your patients.
There is a variety of reasons that counselling is so vital in the 2020s, and perhaps the most obvious, the elephant in the room, is that little apocalypse we went through.
We lived through a global pandemic
2020 forced us to confront some pretty heavy realities and endure some of the greatest tests. Marooned on islands of loneliness, forced into reclusive solitude, forbidden to participate in many of the things that brought us fulfilment, and left alone with constant trepidation that we or our loved ones would get ill. Pretty intense stuff, right? Even the most introverted of introverts found it draining. For so many people, the saving grace of this time was a weekly video chat with a professional. Whether it was to get an unbiased new perspective on a situation, to get practical advice, or just to vent about our loved ones driving us up the wall, it was a relief to just talk in a safe space without judgement.
Post-pandemic, life is still complicated
We may not be in the trenches of the pandemic anymore, but the world has not decreased in complexity. Having our futures hanging in the balance and feeling the plague creeping up on us certainly took its toll, but the need for professional counselling goes deeper than just pandemics and the fear of running out of toilet paper. Unfortunately, there have always been people who need help, and there always will be. Mental illness, poverty, grief, cruelty and general dissatisfaction with life are not new concepts. Dickens said that life was made of many partings welded together. And now, over 150 years later, life is made out of many more mysterious objects stuck together with chewing gum.
Processing your emotions is important
Counselling can even be beneficial for people who don’t suffer from mental health issues. It can boost confidence and lead to self-discovery, or provide clarity and validation. Talking about your fears and anxieties out loud can make them seem less scary. Having someone to express your emotions to and vent to is a huge load off your shoulders and can help you learn to manage your emotions in a healthy way. Even just chatting with a counsellor can help you find direction and structure in life.
Counselling benefits everyone
As you can see, there are so many benefits to counselling. And this is all just on a personal level. Let’s look at the broader picture. If people are able to seek counselling in a timely manner, fewer people will need to be hospitalised for mental health issues or addiction. This means less stress and cost to our healthcare system. People seeking career counselling means more people in the workforce, doing the job they genuinely enjoy. Family counselling could mean a happier and more stable home life for children. Financial counselling could directly contribute to someone being able to pay off their debts or purchase a property. Imagine a world where anyone is able to find accessible and effective counselling. Where we had the skills to peacefully co-exist with the things we cannot control, and where it was completely normalised to talk openly and honestly about counselling and mental health. With the skyrocketing number of people seeing a counsellor, this could be in our future. All we need is passionate, kindhearted counsellors.
Counselling can be a rewarding career. Watching someone blossom in confidence. Watching a grieving person grow around their grief. Saving a marriage, a family, even a life. Meeting someone who is flailing, taking their hand and leading them back to the path (metaphorically, of course- or with a lot of hand sanitiser).
Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples”. This is what counsellors can do. They may create ripples of change in the lives of their patients. They may even change a few lives completely. And those patients will make small changes in the lives of others, and so on and so forth. And that is how the world gradually heals.