Esther Smith Posts

A number of articles have popped up recently that have caused me to consider how I spend my time. I like being efficient and productive. I like producing quality work. I like to look back on my day and feel like I spent it doing something meaningful. This doesn’t always happen.

Often, I find myself pulled into articles online that I don’t really care about. Often, I find myself spending more time than I should on email, responding to text messages, looking at social media, and who knows what else. Sometimes I look back on my day and wonder – what did I actually do all day?

This summer I have been more actively thinking about pain management. I have been thinking about it from the framework of this question: what does it look like to create a life that can be successfully lived around the pain?

I have spent the last five years moving directly through the pain because I had to if I wanted to reach my goal of counseling licensure. It was exhausting. It was emotionally and physically and mentally draining. It was necessary at the time, but in terms of actually managing the pain it wasn’t a good strategy. And honestly, it’s not something I could realistically maintain long-term if living a somewhat balanced and healthy life is at all important to me. Which it is.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post that discussed how you can get the most out of your counseling sessions. This week, I want to go in a slightly different direction and talk to individuals who are wondering if counseling would be helpful for them or not.

Perhaps you have a chronic illness or chronic pain condition that is having a huge impact on your life. You are completely overwhelmed and wonder if counseling might be the next step. But you’re also not sure if it would be worth the hassle. Would it actually help? And if so, what exactly would it help with?

As a counselor, I am always interested to hear people talk about their experiences with other counselors – their perceptions of the process, the fears they bring into the counseling room, and the frustrations that arise over the course of treatment.

I see how frustrating it can be. You pay a large co-pay or session fee, sit down for forty minutes to an hour, and don’t get what you want. The better the counselor, the less frustration you run into. But, at the same time, no counselor is good enough to always do everything perfectly.

This got me thinking about the things people could do to get the most out of their counseling sessions. If you are going to counseling, I hope these thoughts can be of some use to you.