Small group discussions in Group Counseling tend to uncover a lot of hidden perceptions that we as counseling grad students have. So last night, while we were going around the circle discussing what we’ve learned about ourselves over the past few weeks, it dawned on us that – oh hey – as much as we want to be perfect not struggle with any mental health issues while we’re going through the program and even when we’re out there working in the field – we need to face it, it’s going to happen.
And while some of the group members strive to hide their struggles from colleagues and clients alike as best they can because they want to be viewed as being fully in control and all-knowing when it comes to mental health, others like myself, think that perhaps in many cases it could be best to open up and share those things. Self-disclose (when appropriate) and let your clients and colleagues know that they’re not alone in whatever they’re facing.
We’re all going to reach breaking points in our lives. We’re all going to be dealt difficult hands. An important part of working in the mental health field is breaking the stigma associated with revealing that one is struggling. And mental health counselors (and us counselors in training) of all people, should be the first to break the stigma.