5 Most Common Reasons People go to Counseling

Counseling is a service that provides support to individuals who have difficulty coping or managing their problems. During counseling, these troubled individuals talk about what is happening in their lives and what they are thinking with trained professionals who help them work through whatever issues they face and help them learn new methods and skills to solve problems on their own. Students who are considering a career in counseling should be aware of the most common reasons why people seek such help.


Anxiety is similar to stress and is the feeling of being overwhelmed. It is a mental health disorder that can prevent people from living their lives to the fullest. The disorder can cause chronic worry, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, panic and restlessness. It could also be present as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or a specific phobia. Anxiety can be debilitating for people of all ages and present hurdles that they have to overcome to regain happiness, self-acceptance and a sense of personal importance. Through counseling, individuals who suffer from anxiety can experience more enjoyable, fulfilling lives because they begin to worry less.


Depression is a period of sadness that lasts for longer than a few days and interferes with a person’s ability to participate in life. An episode of sadness is a normal reaction to disappointment, the death of a relative or close friend, or other setbacks in life, such as the loss of a job. While the episode will pass for most people, others may become overwhelmed by the sadness and lose themselves, which makes it hard for them to interact with people and experience pleasure from life. Counselors can help depressed individuals gain perspective about the disappointments and stressors that they are experiencing, regain control of their lives and find themselves again.

Relationship Issues

Some of the many types of relationships involve business partners, couples, friends, parents and children, and siblings. Disagreements are bound to arise in these relationships at some point, but there is not always a simple solution. Sometimes one or both sides may be too upset to communicate their feelings and suggest a solution in a calm, productive manner. When this happens, the fighting individuals could turn to relationship counseling to help them sort out their problems and make their relationships stronger. Relationship counselors may receive training in dealing with a broad range of situations that involve various types of relationships, or they may focus their training on specific types of relationships such as marriages.

Life Transitions

Changes occur throughout life, but these changes can becoming too overwhelming or stressful for some people to handle alone. Life changes may involve becoming a parent, getting married, going to college or a new school, losing a loved one, moving to a different city or state, or transitioning careers. Sometimes more than one change occurs at the same time, which builds the stress that makes individuals feel angry, anxious or depressed. The purpose of life transition counseling is to help these people find ways to manage and organize their feelings and thoughts so that they are better prepared to embrace the changes.

Body Image Issues and Eating Disorders

Body image issues and eating disorders are generally a problem among female teens, but they could also arise in boys and people of all ages. Poor self-image typically stems from what individuals perceive as the ideal body, usually because of what they see in the media. The dislike of how their body looks can lead to poor self-esteem and eating disorders such as bulimia, which involves overeating and purging, and anorexia, which involves restricting food consumption. These problems can be emotionally and physically devastating. Counseling can help people who suffer from these issues uncover distorted beliefs about their bodies and identify unhealthy triggers so that they can regain their self-image and maintain a healthy diet.

The intention of a counselor is to work with people to conquer the obstacles and personal challenges in their lives. This professional relationship can empower troubled individuals, families or groups of people to accomplish career, education, mental health and wellness goals.