There Is Hope
by Meg Harris
As a counselor in the mental health field for many years, I have been exposed to a lot of children and families who struggle with emotional difficulties and behavioral concerns.
Many people have reported that they were initially reluctant to seek out professional assistance because they didn’t want to feel weak or be judged for not being able to solve problems on their own. They report feeling the stigma of “mental illness” and fearing a label of “crazy.” Individuals and families were left to their own devices to fix a problem, often resulting in the same outcome and repeating the same unhealthy patterns that contributed to the problem in the first place.
It takes a lot for someone to ask for help. It’s time to change the stigma associated with doing so.
After establishing relationships with individuals and families, counselors often hear comments such as “You saved my life,” “I never knew things could be this good,” and “I never thought I deserved better than what I had.” These comments come from people who had the courage to seek out help — people who were open to letting counselors into their lives to help them explore what happened to them, and from people brave enough to take the journey of healing.
Seeking counseling is not an easy decision; things sometimes get worse before they get better. But then something changes. The changes that are reported include feeling as though a weight has been lifted, there is now someone to talk to about one’s worries and to help figure out how to deal with the adversities that life has dealt. People begin to heal, allowing them to trust and to know that they are not alone.
Counselors have the privilege to spend time with others who are willing to share their story, with people who are willing to let their guard down and trust someone with their most prized possessions — their lives, their families, their emotional well-being. Counseling is supportive, compassionate and helps people find answers. People often walk out believing that they should’ve done this long ago!
The time is now. It is time to accept guidance and support from those who can be objective and teach new skills. There is hope that life will change for the better. Our children will learn skills to help them break the cycle earlier, and they will have support from others. Parents will learn that life can be enjoyable again. There is hope for a brighter tomorrow, and we will no longer be afraid to seek it.
There is hope, and the time is now.
Meg Harris, LPC, Community Support and Trauma Supervisor, has been a member of the Alta Care Group team since 1989. She is a Nationally Certified Trauma therapist, and has additional certification in Transition to Independence Programming (TIP) working with transitional-aged youth.