by Jeff Fisher on September 10, 2013
Recently, I’ve heard several guys and couples mention that they’ve never been to counseling before.
“You know, in our 11 years of marriage, we’ve never been to counseling”
“I was never bad enough to need counseling.”
“God is my counselor, why would I need to pay someone for that?”
Some talk about counseling like it is beneath them, like it is for the “really messed up” people, but never them.
I want to suggest a few things… some hunches for you to ponder.
1. You Probably Have a Pride Issue. If you think you’re somehow better because you’ve never been to counseling, that’s pride… that’s self-righteousness. None of us are better than the other person. All of us have junk but we may be too deceived to see our true condition.
Jesus told a story of a self-righteous person who came to church, sat next to a poor man and prayed, “God, I thank thee that I’m not like that guy!”
2. You Probably Misunderstand the Purpose of Counseling. Counseling is a lot like a private lesson for the musician. You take private lessons to get the skills to excel in your instrument. You need private lessons to learn new techniques or tweak what you’re already working on. But the most valuable private lessons are to help you get through a difficult part you don’t know how to get through.
Much like a private lesson teacher, a counselor has specialized training in areas that trip us up and we are having trouble navigating. A counselor has experience in diagnosing things we don’t know we’re doing.
3. You Probably Have a Stack of Excuses. The more we know we need to make a change, the bigger the list of excuses.
“I can handle it on my own.”
“Counseling is too expensive.”
“I don’t have the time.”
“I’m not that bad.”
“I’ll grow of this.”
“I don’t want anyone telling me what to do.”
“Those counselors are all secular.”
4. You Probably Have a lot of Fears and Insecurities Often we’re afraid of sharing our junk. We’re afraid of what someone might say. We’re afraid of what the counselor might find or tell us to do. We don’t like to be out of control. We don’t want anyone telling us we’re bad. We don’t think anyone would love us if they knew what we were really like. We might feel that God doesn’t truly love us.
Counseling is too painful. It’s easier to keep doing what I’m doing.
5. You Probably Have Lay Counselors in Your Life and Don’t Know it. Counseling is about discipleship. People who are a little farther along in the journey helping us. Men and women who understand more about the soul and healthy relationships than we do.
If you took a risk and talked to some of your friends, pastor, your Sunday School teacher, or some older men in your church you’d probably find some good help. Perhaps you have a good friend that can help. Perhaps someone at work. Maybe one of your golfing or fishing buddies is the person you need to reach out to who can disciple you through.
6. You Probably Are Not Broken Enough. We don’t want to change. We don’t want to do something differently. We like what we’re doing too much. We have trouble seeing our true condition and our horrible sinfulness in God’s site. If you really knew how your heart, mind, and actions looked to God, you would cower away in shame. We don’t call out for help because we are not broken enough over our own sinfulness.
7. You Probably Need to Break the Ice on Counseling. My hunch that you need to break the ice on your first counseling session. It takes a lot of courage, but I think you’ll find a very safe place where you can get some help.
I wrote a post called “Going to a Counselor For the First Time” where I share my fears and presuppositions about counseling that all turned out to be lies. It’s a helpful post.