To see or not to see a counselor is a question many of us ask ourselves when we have stress that we cannot handle, feel depressed or when our relationship with a family member breaks down. But what if we feel the option to actually seek help is not available due to deeply-ingrained cultural pressures and attitudes toward doing so.
As an Indian born and raised in Hong Kong, having studied in an International School and in London, I have seen how cultural taboo plays an important role in why people do not seek outside help. In Asian culture, the social stigma of being judged negatively if one seeks counseling for a problem is one of the most major barriers to treatment. The individual often worries about being perceived weak or disturbed. This is not the fault of the person seeking help, as many cultural values and beliefs are the cause of it.
In some Asian cultures, it is the high degree of privacy being the norm, which stops the individual from speaking to counsellors. And, in other cultures, individuals are taught that the best way to deal with one’s problems is to avoid thinking about or dwelling on them altogether- to ignore them until they disappear. But sadly, the problems don’t often just disappear. In order to understand why some individuals may not seek help when faced with serious mental or emotional challenges we must understand the taboo nature that surrounds seeking outside assistance that exists in some cultures.
As a counsellor, I would like to help break this taboo in our society and help to educate the importance of seeking help and the benefits one gains from seeing a counsellor rather than battling stress, anxiety, or depression alone. I’ve had many clients who have benefited from talking to me with no pre-judgments or biases as I help them cope better with their daily lives and improve their daily relationships with children, spouses, parents, bosses or even co-workers. In an effort to encourage people to seek help when they need it, here is a list of five reasons one should see a counsellor.
5 reasons to see a counsellor
- To help deal with feelings of depression or sadness
- To help improve relationships and communications with spouses, children, parents, bosses, friends
- To help deal with issues preventing you from achieving your ambitions.
- To feel more confident by understanding yourself and your problems better, so that you can find your own solutions.
- To help cope with relationships, breakups, or divorce.
Some people are raised to be independent and solve problems on their own. For them, seeking help when needed should not be a sign of weakness. The truth is, we all suffer at different points in our lives, and getting help doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us, it just means we are normal.