By Brooke Webb-Gennusa , LSCSW
Counseling is a positive solution for many of life’s difficult challenges and problems. This valuable resource can be utilized by individuals, families and couples who are attempting to navigate through problematic times, struggling with conflict, addressing family system changes, or dealing with stress related to the fast-paced world that we live in. Traditionally therapy was viewed as only an option for people who were struggling with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and a plethora of other mental health symptoms.
People were once encouraged not to “air their dirty laundry,” and it was viewed as a weakness to openly admit and talk about personal problems. It was best to sweep those under the hypothetical rug and not discuss them at all. Fortunately, this is fast becoming a viewpoint of the past, as people embrace the opportunity to work with an unbiased, trained professional to increase coping and life skills, and improve communication styles for more rewarding interactions with others.
Counselor: “A person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems.”
– Oxford Dictionary
Counseling is a broad term and encompasses licensed professionals utilizing therapeutic interventions, as well as a variety of other occupations: clergy, guidance counselors, life coaches. Although counselor and therapist are often used interchangeably, differences in education, training and licensure may impact style and insurance reimbursement options. What all of these helping professional have in common is that they assist individuals in becoming more aware of themselves and others. This awareness provides people with a chance for personal growth and possibilities for change. Setting and completing treatment goals is encouraged in every stage of the therapy process.
Today, clinicians use a wide variety of interventions and skills that are effective and research driven. Therapy styles and techniques are able to help people gain insight into their behaviors and patterns. Tools are introduced and practiced to help people become more confident, increasing the ability to focus on the positive aspects of life, and improving quality of life and daily living skills to diffuse conflicts. It is important to remember that individuals are able to choose a clinician and therapy style that meets their personal needs, creating a comfortable environment to build a trusting therapeutic relationship.
The benefits of therapy are long lasting. While addressing current challenges, people develop important skills and tools to help with future bumps in the road. Talking through problems gives individuals the chance to find out what is really going on underneath it all. Instead of just dealing with the day-to-day grind and potential symptoms, people are better able to understand themselves and how they fit in and relate to the world. Therapy can even contribute to better physical well-being, as mental health struggles can actually cause some physical symptoms, such as tension headaches, nausea and troubles sleeping. When people talk about their symptoms and discover what is at the root of the problem contributing to distress, they are very likely to feel better both emotionally and physically. Therapy is a rewarding addition to a holistic approach for healing, reaffirming that we are not alone.
Brooke Webb-Gennusa is a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker. She received her Master of Social Work from Washburn University, after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with an emphasis in health and corporate communication, minoring in Human Services. Brooke joined Valeo Behavioral Health Care in 2011, and is currently the Crisis and Intake Coordinator.
For information about any of Valeo’s services, including outpatient therapy, please contact Valeo Behavioral Health Care at 785.233.1730.