It takes more than courage to go through the normal stresses of everyday life. Things can get pretty rough and tough at different times. Most of the time, they get resolved without intervention and people move on with their lives. At other times, however, the issues may get too complex and overwhelming that they throw you off-balance. It is at times like this that you need help or intervention. At such critical times, the ears and words of a counselor offer the best form of succor.
Who is a Counselor?
“A counselor is trained (in a formal school or in the school of life) to assist people who are struggling with a variety of problems in their lives, from marital or family difficulties to career or financial issues (or school to genetic or substance abuse issues). Counselors help people go through life with reduced stress. The provide perspectives and guidance that help people generally make good decisions and overcome certain identified problems.”
Seeking counsel is excellent way of dealing with the stress of life. “In the abundance of counsel, there is safety,” states the Holy Writ. Everyone, even happy people need counselors.
Be free to express your mind – fears, concerns, expectations, failings, secrets, pains, etc. It is when you unveil it all that the counselor can understand, guide you better or even refer you for help.
What to look for in a Counselor
- The person must be knowledgeable about handling issues. This isn’t necessarily head or book knowledge, but experiential knowledge about dealing with individuals that have issues similar to yours.
- The counselor must be an objective person who can tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear.
- The person must be confident enough to hold you accountable.
- Such a person must be one you feel safe and comfortable with.
- A good counselor must be a good listener. Oftentimes, people have so much to say but no ear to listen to. We simply don’t have too many listeners these days, but a counselor’s can be that critical ear that’s needed for your problems and concerns.
You don’t always have to look for that professional counselor. Counselors are often around you – in your place of worship, at workplace, in the family. It could be your spouse or partner, friends, business or close associate, etc. Let your instinct guide you to discover who you can open your heart to in your surroundings.
How to approach counselling
- Be very open-minded
Be free to express your mind – fears, concerns, expectations, failings, secrets, pains, etc. It is when you unveil it all that the counselor can understand, guide you better or even refer you for help. You must also allow the person to be able to express him/herself to share their perspectives.
- Seek people who differ from you in the way they think and analyze issues. Someone who is not attached to your issues will be able to give you an objective view.
- When all is said and done, be the one to make a decision and not the counselor. You are the one in the situation. A counselor can help you look at issues from different perspectives and weigh in on your choices but ultimately, the decisions are your to be made. You are to think over all perspectives and consider the advice to make sound decision for yourself.
It’s never easy to be without a shoulder to rest on, or the voice of a guide to take one through hazy moments. As an immigrant, there’s so much uncertainty around and so many decisions to be made and we are unable to view issues from all possible perspectives. Counselors can be your support through those tough situations and hard choices. Make seeking counselling normal and take advantage of it.
If you have questions, comments or just need someone to talk to through your immigrant journey, send an email to us at thrive [at] immigrantlife.ca. You can also join our online community to hang out and discuss issues with fellow immigrants using this link: https://immigrantlife.ca/community
For more listen to Episode 86 of The Immigrant Life Podcast.
Written by Yinka Bakare.