Three Fears That Keep Christian Women From Seeking Counseling
by Cara Soto, M.A.
What keeps a Christian woman from seeking counseling? I have found that there are at least three barriers that prevent us from picking up the phone and making an appointment. As you will learn from my story, we as women often reach for counseling when we are in crisis. However, prevention is a much better option than dealing with a crisis that might have been preventable. If enough growth and healing had occurred during counseling, a painful crisis might have been avoided.
I remember the first few years of my marriage were rough, to say the least. My husband was in seminary, and we had two small children. He was going to a therapist that the school offered and was benefiting greatly from it. He came home one day and suggested that I could benefit from it as well. My defenses went up immediately. I knew he needed therapy; he came from a broken abusive home. I on the other had come from a home where my parents didn’t fight, and they were still married. Why in the world would I need therapy?
Why Christian Women Are Afraid of Therapy
Unfortunately, I did not seek therapy for another two years. I was afraid of three major things; things that I discovered aren’t exclusive to me. First, I thought the therapist would uncover more brokenness than I wanted to see in myself. Second, I also feared judgment. Being a pastor’s wife, I wondered what the counselor would think of me and my family if I shared what I was struggling with. And, third, there was the potential change that I might have to make. What if I was part of the problem? What might I have to face and change?
Well, it turns out the view I had of myself, and therapy were tainted. Like most people, I started seeking therapy when I felt like I was going to crack. I was in crisis mode. God worked a miracle and helped me connect to a godly counselor who was like a wise grandfather. He helped me process what I was going through, and I emerged as a healthier woman, wife, and mom.
I came to realize more deeply that because we live in a broken, sinful world it is impossible to escape the effects of it. As much as I wanted to believe that I was perfect and could hold it all together I soon realized that this was an Eden wish. We are all broken, and it is okay, and actually healthy to admit that we are broken and hurting.
Fears Replaced with Safety, Freedom, and Hope
Upon going to therapy my second fear was debunked, there was no judgment. What I did find was a safe place to share my feelings, fears, and disappointments. Being in a safe place to allow my emotions to be free and explored was gold for me. There was no judgment for being a pastor’s family and not having it all together. I also learned that a therapist is confidential. I did not have to fear my junk being told to anyone who knew me, or it getting leaked to our church. That was a huge relief.
The third reason I hesitated to go to therapy was the difficulty of the changes that I might need to make. Just to be honest some of the changes were hard because they had become habits, like saying “always” and “never” when I am frustrated with my husband. Even though it was difficult at times, the beauty of therapy is that the fears and distortions in me, when they met grace and truth in counseling, led to changes that are freeing and liberating; they bring joy and healing.
Looking Back Now
Now as a therapist myself, I smile tenderly at my immature younger self. If I could advise her, I would have told her that she would actually enjoy therapy. Opening those hidden boxes of pain and suffering in a loving context bring healing and freedom. I would let her know that therapy is not about being judged from a critical place. Therapy is a safe place to explore emotions and relationship patterns, my insecurities, and yes address my perfectionism!
Why Christian Counseling is Important
As a Christian therapist, I lean into Christ’s mission of what he came to do for us which is found in Isaiah 61, where he says that he has come to heal the brokenhearted and set the captive free and give sight to the blind. I was blind thinking that I had escaped being wounded by this sinful world. Therapy from a worldly or humanistic standpoint can lead us away from God, but Christian therapy helps us experience the love of God in deeper ways and enables us to be more like Jesus in how we are with others, especially those closest to us.
What About You?
So, what are you waiting for? If you are in a tough place or would like to grow in deeper ways. I encourage you to seek therapy. It is life-giving and restorative, and when working with Jesus it offers deeper hope and joy. My prayer for you is that God will lead you in your selection of a perfect fit with a therapist. If you live in Florida and would like, I am willing to talk with you for a free 15-minute consultation and answer any questions that you may have. May God bless you.