Do I Really Need Counseling?

“Do I really need counseling?”

My mind was racing while I waited for my turn in that white and lavender office. I was “patiently” waiting to see a therapist which the company counselor recommended for me to see before she signs my mental health clearance for the year. She’s the crazy one, the company counselor if you ask me.

So what if I work from 7 in the morning until 7 at night? The company would love that I am a very dedicated editor and I have nothing else to do with my time. It was something like “work-life balance” thing that I was told repeatedly by them to practice, but I didn’t, and so, I am facing a forced leave at work or this counseling and therapy whatever.

Of course, I brought my work with me. I love to work. My passion is to read and well, correct what I find in my reading that’s a mistake. I’m not a perfectionist, either. It’s just that I am good at fixing the errors of others, well, I meant writers. It’s something that I can control and that I can be proud of because if you ask my mom, my life is an utter mess. But then she quoted what Sarah Rumpf, MA, LPCC used to say, “Counseling is an investment that requires commitment. You will be spending time, money, and emotional energy to process and/or solve problems.”

After three pages of mediocre romantic wordings, the secretary (I assumed she was a secretary) called my name and gestured for me to go in. The office was plain and very neat; all white but dimmed. It was a new set up for me since I liked rooms that are bright. I need the light because when I read, the place has to be clear.

“Hello, Katrina.” Said the therapist. “Would you like to sit or lie down?”

That was weird. Do they really ask their clients to lie down? Will it help with the session? Remembering what my boss told me about the forced leave issue if I didn’t do this, I smiled at the therapist and told her that I’d rather sit.

She asked me some questions, basic ones, and we even had a good laugh. It didn’t feel like a “session” at all, but it was a refreshing one hour. I realized what Carmen Gehrke, LMHC had to say, “Therapy gives you permission to allow you to feel the pain and know that it’s valid.” Before I left the therapist handed me an envelope and said that I should give it to my supervisor. She also said that she looks forward to seeing me next week. You know what I said? I said, sure, I’d love to chat with you some more.

Why did I say that? Did I really have a great time with my therapist? I mean, she’s not a friend. I’m her client, but why did I like chatting with her? It made me realize that I had to socialize. Maybe other people would also like to have my company? I’m sure that I’m not dull. I have proven that with my therapist. It’s just that I have to make an effort to put myself out. That’s the word, effort.

When I returned to work the next day, I gave the envelope to my supervisor. She opened it and giggled a bit. I had a quizzing look on my face, and I asked her why. She said, “Your therapist said that there is no major issue with you, but that I have to be strict with your schedule at work. No overtime ever for the next 12 months, and that I make sure you go out for drinks with workmates.” And that was it!

So yes, I guess, I needed counseling. “Counseling is an empowering process in which people take responsibility for and control over their lives.” says Brittany N. Murphy, PHD, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH. And yes, she’s right.