When can a counselor help?

I am continually impressed with the enormous amount of support that is so generously shared on this website.  The amount of care and concern that posters have for each other is just tremendous.  And it’s great to see that it comes from both the ADHD/non-ADHD sides of the story.  Each in her/his way, sharing perspectives that are so valuable to be heard.

As a therapist and a Marriage Consultant, I am continuously thinking about What do I have to add to the conversation?  And it’s sometimes a very difficult question to answer.  I want to say things that are relevant but don’t sound preachy, and at the same time I want to be sure that if I put my 2 cents in that there is a good and valid reason to get involved in what is already being shared.  It’s not always an easy decision to make.

And sometimes it’s a hard to know when to suggest counseling, but it seems to be very relevant in some cases.  So, I’ve been thinking about what those cases are.  I thought I’d share the most important ones that come to mind.

One situation is when a couple’s relationship seems to be at an impasse, and the individuals in the coupleship don’t seem to be able to move forward together in a way that makes them happy.  Some major disconnection has occurred that seems difficult to mend between the two people, and an outside perspective by way of an objective professional might be able to help the couple move through the impasse.  Does this always work?  The answer is, it depends on the couple, how much each one is willing to take responsibility for their part in the breakdown, and what they are willing to do to create change.  And of course, rapport with the counselor is an important factor.

Another situation is when there is such a serious breakdown in the relationship that one individual’s safety is at risk.  This, of course, is an extreme situation, but it certainly happens.  In this case, it is important for the one whose safety is at stake to get help in some form so that she/he can feel supported in case further steps are needed going forward.

When ADHD is involved, counseling may be a very helpful extension of treatment.  Sometimes we find out we have ADHD later in life, and although we’ve gotten through so far somehow, there may be issues as a result of a lifetime of being put down or judged for ADHD-related issues.  In these cases, counseling can be very helpful in easing feelings of shame and low self-esteem.

As you might imagine, I’m an advocate of counseling.  I’ve been through it myself during challenging times, and have always come out having learned more about myself, with some new skills for coping on a higher level.  There are always greater insights and new ways of seeing possibilities that I had previously been unaware of.

When you choose a counselor, make sure you find someone you believe you can truly confide in; someone who cares about you and what you are going through.  Feeling comfortable in the relationship is a very critical part of getting the help you need.

I wish you the best.