Reasons to see a counselor before the breakdown.

By David Joel Miller.

Reasons to seek out a counselor before the breakdown.

Counseling

Counseling or Therapy
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Some people describe the onset of a mental health challenge as a “breakdown.” Breakdown implies that your problem came on suddenly. Most of the time problems develop slowly over time. You get yourself in trouble, not because of a sudden breakdown, but because you pretended you did not have a problem way too long.

You don’t have to wait for your car to break down for you get it serviced. And you don’t need to wait for your life to fall off the rails before you get a check up on your emotional life. High-performing athletes have coaches. Top executives often see life coaches, and many writers have writing coaches. While you can see your life, a therapist sees many people and can be helpful in identifying what you may be going through and how other people have solved that problem

Often people who noticed that they are feeling differently, forgetting more things, go to see a medical doctor. Sometimes that forgetfulness is a medical issue, but often it’s just that you have a lot on your mind. Lack of energy might signal an oncoming medical issue, but it can also be a symptom of depression or other emotional disorders. It’s always a good idea to get your physical health checked out first, but if the doctor doesn’t find anything significant, consider seeing a counselor or therapist to see how your emotions might be affecting your physical health.

What kinds of challenges might benefit from seeking counseling or coaching even when you do not think you have any mental illness?

You feel confused a lot.

Confusion is a good reason to look for help. Assuming you have ruled out medical issues like dementia and fatigue, you may be in a situation where you just do not know what you want to do or what the choices are.

People who are under a lot of stress, find that a large part of their mind is occupied trying to cope with that stress. Stress can be good, or it can be bad. If you find that your life is in transition, seeing a counselor can help you get some of that confusion clarified and make sense of what you’re going through.

Choice – You need to choose between A and B.

Most choices are not clear-cut.  If you pick A, it comes with good and bad parts.  The same for alternative B.  Often both choices involved things you would like to have and things you’d like to avoid.  While a counselor can’t tell you which choice to make, they can help you to sort out the good and bad parts of the two alternatives.  Sometimes it helps to have an outside objective party to talk things over with.

Most of us start off by talking to family and friends. Sometimes they can be very helpful. Everyone needs a support system. Unfortunately, family and friends aren’t always objective. If you’re considering taking a job, this may mean, you’ll leave co-workers who have become friends. They may want you to stay, but this may not be the best thing for your career. Decisions about going to school or back to school, often affect others in our lives. They will have their opinions about what they want you to do, but what you may need is help in sorting out what is best for you

Change can be very difficult.

Now, may be a time when your life needs to change. Change happens whether we want it to or not. Sometimes it’s a good thing; sometimes it’s a bad thing, but many times it just is. Everybody experiences times when their life changes.

You grew up, and it became time to leave home and start your life. You look for a job, or a career. Sometimes you need help finding a job, deciding on a career. Once you have that job, it’s easy to get stuck there. There may come a time when you decide you need to make a change.

Some people make the transition from young adult to parent easily. Other people struggle. There will be challenges and changes as your children grow. Some of these challenges can be made easier by seeing a counselor.

Many people find that the biggest changes in life come in the time’s past children. The children grow up and start their own lives. You may be somewhat involved in their lives and the lives of your grandchildren, but eventually, you should let that go to allow your children to become parents. The change to an empty nest is hard for some people. The change from your working years to retirement can also be difficult.

You may be facing a challenge.

When you are faced with a challenge and do not know if you have the abilities needed to reach your goals it may be helpful to talk with the professional. Sometimes what you need is to identify your strengths and your weaknesses especially in the emotional realm.

Counselors can help you learn the skills you need to face this challenge. Often counselors can see your potential even when you have your doubts.

If you’re struggling with your emotions or your life, now might be the time to enlist the services of a counselor or therapist.

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Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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How to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

By David Joel Miller.

Do misunderstandings and confusion harm your relationships?

Avoiding confusion and misunderstandings

Avoiding confusion and misunderstandings
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Misunderstandings can damage relationships at home and at work. If your life and relationships are plagued with misunderstandings, people misunderstand you or they say you misunderstand them, there are ways you can improve communications. These examples apply mostly to the office or work setting but the same principles apply at home and in your personal relationships.

Asking lots of questions reduces misunderstandings.

Rather than jumping to a conclusion based on a few statements, ask questions. Often as you get more information you will discover that the other person left out important details. They may not have been trying to lie or mislead you, they just did not know that you did not have part of the information.

When someone uses the word “hot” do they mean a warm temperature or do they mean very desirable? If they talk about plans to go somewhere do they intend to go there today or next month or after they retire?

Many misunderstandings are the result of bits of information that were left out.

Check out your understandings to avoid confusion.

When someone says we are all going, who is all? Does that include Mary? And Bob? What if Mary and Bob just broke up, does the speaker still want them both invited? Does the person you are talking to know about that break-up?

The other person may assume you know what they know or that you are thinking about the same place they are. Ever show up for a meeting and find that the person who called the meeting had a different location in mind but failed to convey that information?

Precise language makes things clearer.

Fuzzy language leads to misunderstandings. Strive to fill in the details. Things like “and stuff” and “you know what I mean” leave a lot of room for serious misunderstandings.

How big is big? If we need a lot of paper is that one ream or 100 reams? If you partner says to not let the kids do something is that today or ever? Should you tell them no or are you expected to hold them down and stop them?

Put it down in writing to get it right.

A saying in many offices is that “if it is not down in writing than it didn’t happen.” Documenting things avoids misunderstandings. This is especially important if there is money involved or someone is doing something now and the other person will do something else later. When is later?

Successful meetings usually have minutes. Deciding who will do what works better if it is written down and everyone gets a copy of the minutes. More than once we have done that only to find that not everyone was in agreement. I thought one person was in charge and someone else thought they were in charge of that activity.

Just because I said we needed to do something did not mean that I planned to be the one to do it.

Written lists are important in your home life as well as you work one. Give kids more than one thing to do and they tend to forget the second and third thing. Written chore lists help avoid forgetting.

When I am going to the store I make a written list. Otherwise, I get one ingredient but forget something else and need to make a second trip. This becomes more problematic when someone else needs to do the shopping for me.

Check back during the process to keep the communication working.

If things will take time to get accomplished it is wise to check back as the project progresses. Things change. The person who said they would do something may have gotten sick or discovered they had too many other things to do.

Checking in as things progress lets plans be adjusted. Better to change plans than to spend a lot of time at the end on whose fault it is that something did not get done or was done wrong.

Double and triple check your facts for reduced misunderstandings.

Sometimes that thing you were sure you knew turns out to not be true. Recheck dates, times, names and costs. Get those facts right.

Sunday your family member says that there is an important meeting “next Monday” Does that mean tomorrow or a week from tomorrow. I know purists have ways of telling you the correct way to say things, but does it matter who was right when you show up for an event on the wrong day? Recheck the facts and avoid the misunderstandings.

Make your yes’s yes and no’s no.

Sometimes people say yes to acknowledge that they heard the speaker. They may be agreeing that so and so said that, but not agreeing to the truth of the statement or that they will do as requested. No may mean that the statement was not accurate rather than that they were opposed to the goal.

Do not say yes or no unless that is what you mean. When others say yes or no check what they are agreeing with or disagree with.

Don’t take things personally.

People may say things about others behavior. They have in mind a particular behavior and a particular person. They may not have you in mind at all.

Do not assume that people are knowledgeable about your needs or tastes.

Keep things simple.

The longer the statement the more time there is for there to be confusion and misunderstanding. Long explanations rather than making things clearer often make them harder to understand. For clearest communication use short simple sentences. Check that people are following what you say as you go.

Many misunderstandings are the result of a long conversation with few pauses which leave the listener with a different message than was intended. The less the person you are talking to knows about your topic the simpler the explanation needs to be. This is especially important in communicating with younger children and those with some emotional or mental disabilities or cognitive impairments.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books