A deep tissue massage as a metaphor for counseling: Have you ever had a deep tissue massage? Have you experienced painful knots in your neck or back? The masseuse does not start out working directly on the knots. They massage surrounding areas and the knot. They then spend direct time on the knot but then they go back to kneading surrounding areas. As they work the knot it seems to loosen and the pain dissipates slowly at a tolerable level. Trying to pretend that the knots are not there or ignoring them can lead to larger and more painful knots. Similarly, when you have pain, hurt, trauma etc. and you ignore or pretend it is not there it could grow larger and more painful by affecting some or all areas of your life. A counselor can be analogous to a masseuse. Initially, you will talk about your areas of concern (the knot) then the counselor will most likely ask about the areas surrounding the concern (situations, durations, intensity, triggers, history etc.). Then the area of concern is addressed directly with goals and a treatment plan. The area(s) of concern should start to lessen or dissipate over time and/or you will be given tools and coping skills to keep them at a manageable level. Sometimes it’s hard to schedule or show up for a massage but it is well worth it in the days following. Similarly, it is hard to schedule and keep a counseling appointment but after you start attending and seeing the benefits of working through issues and concerns your burden(s) feels lighter and you are glad you went. Now go ahead and schedule a massage (self-care) and set up a counseling appointment. You will be glad you did!