Currently, I am a first year student in a counseling master’s program, and I have also worked as a practicum student at two counseling centers. Although I have yet to have my own client, I have interacted with clients in group counseling settings and have spoken with prospective clients over the phone.
Just hearing a weekly influx of people’s struggles, experiences, and burdens has recently made me… Well, not quite disappointed or distraught. I can’t sum it up in a word… It kind of feels like that rosy lens through which I looked at life has slowly been shattered.
And this isn’t just a lens of the world that has been changed but a view of people. Not only is the world full of disorder, ache, chaos, and affliction, but people are more capable of inflicting pain and injustice than we know. They are also more broken and weary than we often see from the outside…
This month, for example, is National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Did you know that every 10 seconds a report of child abuse is made? One in four children have experienced neglect or abuse at some point of their lives. Those are some crazy statistics. You might think abuse is unlikely in your community, but the statistics show that it is more common than we (like to) believe.
As I write this post, I wonder… Where is this going? I guess I just wanted to share that the world and its inhabitants are more broken than what many of us like to believe. And then I ask myself where am I going with this? I guess, in part, I needed to remind myself of the importance of mental health and counseling. Currently, it seems to be a generally world-wide phenomena, in which people downplay or disregard the importance of mental health. Counseling is a fairly new field, and we don’t quite understand it or value it. But I think counseling is a vital part of the community, because people, many people, have experienced life’s brutal winds, hurricanes, and shipwreck and it never hurts to have a helping hand. (One in four children abused or neglected? There are real mental and emotional effects that may need to be attended to).
Overall, if you are experiencing mental and emotional distress, you’re not alone. Sometimes we know the reasons for our distress and sometimes we don’t know why. And that’s okay. I don’t think you’re “crazy” or any of the other negative words associated with mental disorders. I encourage you to seek help, whether its speaking to a loved one or finding a mental health professional. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. And to my friends who are pursuing a career in counseling, let’s keep fighting the good fight. The world may not understand why we do what we do or what exactly it is that we do. But I believe you are helping the world be a better place.
The cries of injustice and brokenness are many but silent. Who will be the ones to hear them?
“There is terrible suffering in this world and we are not to run from it. However, suffering must not rule our lives, nor be our master.” Dr. Diane Langberg