If you missed yesterday’s post, Help, God, I’m Not a Counselor, you may want to read through it for encouragement in helping friends through tough times. In some cases, a friend will need to be referred to a professional Christian counselor to best help them.
According to the American Counseling Association (ACA), we should seek professional counseling when we need help addressing problems and issues that cause emotional distress or make us feel overwhelmed.
“Good indicators of when you should seek counseling are when you’re having difficulties at work, your ability to concentrate is diminished, or when your level of pain becomes uncomfortable,” says Dr. Gail Robinson, past president of the ACA. “However, you don’t want to wait until the pain becomes unbearable or you’re at the end of your rope.”
Joyce Breasure, past president of the ACA and a professional counselor who has been in private practice for more than 20 years, recommends counseling when you:
Spend five out of seven days feeling unhappy
Regularly cannot sleep at night
Are taking care of a parent or a child and the idea crosses your mind that you may want to hit that person
Place an elder in a nursing home or in alternative care
Have lost someone or something (such as a job)
Have a chronic or acute medical illness
Can no longer prioritize what is most important in your life
Feel that you can no longer manage your stress
Robinson points out you don’t have to be “sick” to benefit from counseling. “Counseling is more than a treatment of mental illness,” she says. “Some difficult issues we face in life are part of normal development. Sometimes it’s helpful to see what you’re going through is quite normal.”