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Why Pay for Counselling?
In Canada we have become accustomed to subsidized health care, which translates to a cultural norm that we run ourselves until we break, then we go to the doctor and get a cure. Our public health system has been failing to meet those needs and has been the subject of much debate and controversy over privatizing healthcare. It seems that the collective would like things to remain the same, we don’t really want to be burdened with the high cost of health, put straight forward to us, we like the pay every month approach, take what you need and give what you can, it seems to appeal to a “fairness” consciousness.
But what about counselling, where does that fit in our healthcare plan? Counselling and therapy are paid for by healthcare if you are really stuggling with suicide, or major mental illness, through community mental health services. Some large employers now have a group insurance plan commonly called Employee Assitance Plan or E.A.P. whereby you are subsidized for a limited number of sessions with a psychologist or registered clinical counsellor. If you are experiencing personal difficulties this is a resource that can be accessed and you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket directly. Of course, you do pay for this kind of group coverage out of your earnings, and some may never take advantage of this service, which is really how insurance works.
But for those folks that are not covered under this kind of plan because either your employer doesn’t subscribe, you are self-employed, or you do not work outside the home, paying for counselling can be a stopping point to making the first appointment. So why pay for counselling?
Paying for counselling is an investment in yourself, which for many is a huge obstacle in itself. If we recognize that within ourselves we suffer from low self-esteem, or low self worth, then we are stuck in a limited mind set about ourselves that prevent us from putting ourselves first in the order of bill paying. The self limiting beliefs that prevent us from taking a step towards putting money towards our self knowledge and self understanding, are difficult to overcome, and yet we instinctively know that if we don’t make changes in ourselves, the patterns of our lives will remain the same.
The biggest challenge to paying money for therapy or counselling is the anxiety that results when thinking about doing so. Whenever we decide to make a change, our being, that works so hard to maintain homeostasis, rebels to this change usually in the form of fear. Fear is experienced in ourselves as anxiety, discomfort, nervousness, feelings that are powerful in convincing us to do nothing, or to try harder without outside paid support. Underlying beliefs about money surface, our poverty consciousness becomes alive and may come to the forefront with thoughts such as: I can’t afford to pay to talk to someone. How will I pay for this… I might have to give up something. What about my family members, Suzy said she needed new shoes, etc.
Our beliefs about money come from the family in which we were raised and those attitudes. Children know all to well the stress that parents have about money, and whether there will be enough at the end of the month, these attitudes can surface from a family living close to the poverty line, middle class, upper-middle class etc. What children remember and internalize are the feelings surrounding the topic and the conclusion or assumptions that are made about money. A child will do there best to understand everything going on in a family. Poverty consciousness occurs as a result of the idea that there is not enough to go around. This idea, assumption, conclusion, mistaken belief, gets internalized as “truth” and becomes a belief that we will make true for ourselves again and again.
As adults we cannot ignore other influences into our lives that challenge our belief systems. When we see others that live a life of abundance, feelings of jealousy, envy, and anger may result, because we just don’t get how come others have more than we do. If we are accustomed to condemning ourselves, or having that critical mind that limits us in our capabilities, we will fight with our feelings and learn strategies of coping (maybe even addictions) that keep us in the loop of sameness. Confronting mistaken beliefs is really what counselling and therapy is all about.
So, why pay for counselling?
When we take a step towards self-care, when we say to ourselves that something has to change, we are inviting our current map to be made explicit. Counsellors and therapists are professionals of the mind map. They are the outsiders of your creative work that can help you see the errors in perception, the ideas that are keeping you from your best performance. Something that can be extremely difficult for the self observer. When a relationship with a counsellor/therapist is made, you are saying to yourself, “I am worth investing into.” “I have a faint belief that I am capable of more in this life.” You may come into counselling feeling broken, but really it is an acknowledgement that some of your ideas may be mistaken beliefs. That is it, simply that maybe along the road to adult life, something you were taught, or learned is not serving you in the way that you would like it to. When you put your money up, your very survival tool, you are really completing an exercise in trust. Trusting that what you put into yourself, you will gain from in the future, and you are so right about that. Paying for counselling is one of the highest respects that we can give ourselves, it is a practical application in going after our dreams and sources of inspiration, when the idea that “I am worth it” takes hold, there is no telling on what can follow, a life of riches is certainly part of it.
About the Author: Diane Trapp, B.Sc., M.A.
Diane is in private practice in Victoria, B.C. and runs workshops on “The Psychodynamics of Money.” Visit her website at Cook Street Counselling in Victoria