Hi, my name is Breanna and I am the daughter of two therapists. I feel like it’s a disclaimer I should introduce myself with. “Forgive me while I analyze your continual need for affirmation, but did you have an absent father?” I joke that growing up in our house was similar to a never-ending group therapy session. Dinner table discussions could be intimidating for the “non-overcommunicating therapist” visitors. For me counseling was just a part of life. Everyone I knew went to counseling, even the counselors! It was natural and normal. Helpful and graceful.
But then I became an adult. I often find myself in situations asking “have you ever thought about seeing a counselor?” Nine times out of ten, the question is followed by a series of:
“Oh I don’t need that,”
“It’s just an off day,”
“I can’t afford it,”
“I don’t know where to go”,
or some variation of that.
It has taken me a long time to get used to these responses. There are people in my life, whom I love and adore, who are in broken hurting relationships. It’s so hard to sit down and hear these excuses when you love someone and want the best for them. There are a lot of stigmas against counseling, against asking for help, against admitting the need for help. I asked my dad, Matt Barnhill, to share with me his thoughts about these stigmas and it was too good not to share.
In over 33 years of counseling I have seen two ends of the continuum. There are the couples who say “we have our attorney, our trainer, our accountant, our therapist…” and it is considered a normal essential part of life. Sometimes it’s a prideful thing but most times, it’s simply a smart thing. The most successful people in business will tell you – know your weaknesses and surround yourself with people who are smarter and wiser than you. Continually seek guidance and growth and never settle.
And then there is the other side of the spectrum. Those who have anxiety and embarrassment about having to ask for help. “I don’t want anyone to know I’m getting help or that I need help”. They believe they are capable of fixing it – and everything – by themselves. This belief system – that I should be able to fix it myself – implodes on them.
It’s as simple as, if your kid needs help with math, you hire a math tutor. If your pipes burst, you hire a plumber. We need help with relationships in the same way. If you never learned to resolve conflict or to communicate – you hire someone who can teach you. We have no problem browsing the aisles of Barnes and Noble picking up decorating how-to books, recipe books, and self-help books. So why do we let our pride get in the way? Why are we settling in less than great marriages, when we don’t have to? You have a choice.
To learn more about Matt Barnhill, or any of the other therapists at BACC, click here or call us. We would love to talk to you and help you find the right therapist for you.