A couple of people have suggested that I go to a counselor, recently, and I figured I would post my reasons as to why I am currently choosing to go to a “support group” instead. I’m not sure what “support group” even means but for the sake of this discussion I am referring to a group of people who meet that have a similar “problem.” When I refer to “counselor” I am referring to any session with a qualified professional with a one on one methodology. Here is my assessment of what a week in each would look like.
- One one-on-one session each week.
- Do your “homework” and be prepared for your next session to make it the most productive.
- One or more group sessions each week.
- One meeting with your sponsor/mentor each week
- Coffee/breakfast with network of other members after meeting.
- Phone calls to sponsor or other group members at any time on a need basis
- Additional one on one meetings with other participants of the program on a need basis
This is not meant to be a persuasive discussion. I am just laying out the two options as I understand them. Here are a few bullet points as to why I am currently engaging in the latter.
- I have to chose one or the other. This is due to time and emotional constraints at this time.
- The “support group” model resembles and supports so much more of our value system. It feels much more like a network of people that we are in relationship with. If I want to engage in someone further I can invite them over for dinner and they can meet the family. From what I understand, this is not the norm with counselors.
- The second model seems more “holistic.” There are so many different ways to connect and learn. As long as there are people who are “ahead of me” in the program I have a wide range of people to chose from in regards to getting advise and help. I can chose based upon schedule, geographic proximity, personality, or commonalities.
- It is free. Yes, I am a cheapskate. Beyond that though, I think there is an element of awkwardness for me when I know that someone is listening to me and they are getting paid for it. Part of me never really knows how much of me is a client and how much is a person. What’s the difference? Who knows? Not me. In the support group I don’t even have to think about that.
- Ongoing relationship. When I quit the program I still plan on engaging in the relationships that I am building. I’m not sure if a therapist or counselor would want to hang out for coffee 3 years after I’m done paying them. I hate the idea of “temporary” relationships.
- I am introspective and motivated. I think this really helps with me choosing the second model. I can not think of a day, since my first meeting, that I have not been challenged or motivated. There has been significant life change and from what I can gather that is the goal of either. I would not be surprised if the “degree” or “qualifications” of the counselor would make the process more through, or efficient but right now I am willing to forgo either of those for the above stated benefits. If I ever stop being challenged or motivated or have “hit a wall” in the productivity of learning about myself or my issues I think a qualified counselor would be a valuable asset.
I hope that offers some help for people to understand my own process. I am not saying either is better nor am I defending one over the other. I would be really surprsed if I do not engage in both somewhere down the road. I am really new to this whole world and would love to hear ongoing thoughts of people who have expereinced either.