8 Barriers to Counseling Even When You Know You Need It : Reason #1

Douglas Cowan Psy.D., Counseling TehachapiAbandonment, ADHD, Anxiety, Christian Counseling, Depression, Fear, Guilt Shame, Internet Problems, PTSD, Rejection, Teenagers, Tehachapi, Worry

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The Eight Barriers to Counseling 

30% of all people could benefit from professional counseling today. There are 8 reasons main why they won’t come. The top 8 reasons are:

  • The advice of friends and family members;
  • The fear of being seen as either weak or crazy;
  • The fear of the unknown – what actually takes place in a counseling session?
  • The fear of having to actually express emotions;
  • Concern that counseling won’t work, and will waste both money and time;
  • Having been “burned” in the past by someone who was supposed to be helping, but instead rejected, ridiculed, or revealed your personal information to others (often in the form of a “prayer request”);
  • Coming from a culture or family that expects you to “suffer in silence” or “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”;
  • Your male need for independence, or control, or ego just won’t let you meet with a therapist.

In this article we will explore Reason #1

The Advice of Friends and Family Members

When people in Tehachapi feel distressed and are in pain, having family problems, or even school problems, people will often consider getting help from a professional therapist or psychologist for counseling. But there are a number of reasons why people will end up deciding not to come to a professional therapist, counselor, or psychologist.

More than half of all people who are experiencing significant problems in their lives right now will first talk to a family member or friend about their problem, seeking advice and comfort.  Somewhere during the conversation they will ask the question, “What do I do?”  And most often, depending upon what their friend’s or family member’s answer is, they will do whatever is recommended or suggested at that moment. If it is suggested that they should go to a counselor, they most like will. If something else is recommended, they will do that instead.  Without the support and encouragement of family or friends most people will never seek professional therapy or counseling for their situation – that is if there situation is “in the negative numbers.”

What do we mean by “in the negative numbers?”


health vs pain chart


Situations “in the Negative Numbers” would include the pain of Divorce, or Depression, Anxiety or Worry or Fear, Arguments or Family Conflicts, or health problems like Chronic Pain, and so on.  These are situations that are perceived as “bad” or “hard” or “painful.”  When people are experiencing these situations they want RELIEF and just want to get from whatever severity of “negative number” they are at today up to the relief of ZERO.  When you are in pain – to get to NO pain sounds really good.  We call this ZERO.  It is a great goal when you feel like you are starting from a Negative 75 or something like that.

One the other side of ZERO are POSITIVE NUMBERS.  This is the side of the scale, and the side of life, where people simply are seeking a richer, fuller, more meaningful or productive life.  This is why people go to a Gym and workout, or see a cosmetic dentist to get a better smile, or hire a business consultant to help his business to run better and make more money.  In the counseling world we usually call this “executive coaching,” or “life coaching,” or “spiritual growth.”  This is a very valuable part of what we provide here in Tehachapi.  Many people are looking for personal growth, or greater stress management skills, or wisdom on how to be a parent to teenagers while helping aging parents in Lancaster, or looking for deeper and more meaningful relationships with family or with God. These situations might begin with the person at a +20, but they really want to live life at a +90, so they come to see me for “counseling” or “coaching” or “wisdom” at my office in Bear Valley Springs, just outside of Tehachapi.

In the Negative Numbers?

Being in the “negative numbers” is where there is pain: sadness, depression, rejection, arguments, conflict, fears, tormenting thoughts, and so on.  You want RELIEF from these, and you want peace inside of yourself, and peace with others.

So if you actually have friends who can help you to achieve this peace, or get relief from depression, anxiety, or pain and rejection, then that is great.  Meet with your friends and family.  But chances are they do not actually have the training, expertise, skills, patience, insight, or experience to make a meaningful difference in your situation. And so you may just continue to suffer.

Rather than that, why not contact a professional counselor, therapist, or psychologist in Tehachapi, or your town, and see if they could help you?

Moving people from a negative number to “zero” is pretty much what we do all day for a living – so we have to be good at it in order to feed our families and pay our bills.  This is our area of expertise, and someone in your area is available to help you find relief today!

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (M24381) in California serving Tehachapi, Stallion Springs, and Bear Valley Springs.  He is also available via Skype or FaceTime from anywhere in the world.  He actually meets over the internet with people as far away as the Middle East.  As the Clinical Editor of the ADHD Information Library he has written over 225 posts and articles for parents on ADHD, and his ADHD newsletter goes weekly to over 9,450 families.  He is also a pastor at The Living Room Ministry in Tehachapi.  His website is http://DouglasCowan.me for more information on achieving greater health, personal growth, Christ-centered spirituality, stress management, parenting skills, working out the stresses of being a care-giver to elderly parents and also being a parent to teenagers, or finding greater meaning in retirement years, Dr. Cowan can be a valuable resource to you.  He provides executive coaching and business consulting in the area of internet marketing to a small circle of clients too. (661) 972-5953 or newideas.net@gmail.com


Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT
27400 Oakflat Dr.
Tehachapi, CA 93561
(661) 972-5953

Counselor counseling Tehachapi for ADHD, depression, anxiety, PTSD, cutting and self-injury, unforgiveness, anger, marriage problems, and more.


Douglas Cowan Psy.D., Counseling Tehachapi8 Barriers to Counseling Even When You Know You Need It : Reason #1