- Reaching out for help isn’t an easy feat, but it is sometimes necessary, particularly when your health is at risk.
- Counseling can help many address the issues they face; when it comes to women, there are several issues that are commonly addressed and managed in counseling.
- First, many women experience depression and anxiety, due to many biological as well as environmental factors.
- Additionally, many women present a low self-esteem, often as a result of the pressure they experience to meet today’s expectations.
- Women also work through problems in the workplace with their counselor—these include bullying, harassment, and gender discrimination.
- Finally, counselors often help their female clients overcome guilt and self-blame as well as improve their relationships.
Asking for help isn’t easy—but it is necessary, especially when your health and wellbeing is at risk. When it comes to women, common problems include mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, problems in the workplace, guilt and self-blame, and relationship issues. Fortunately, counseling can help women to address these issues as well as many others. Let’s take a closer look at these issues that commonly plague the female population:
1. Depression and anxiety.
“For women, anxiety and depression are two of the top complaints when it comes to therapy and coaching,” Rebecca Sutton, Solo Coach, explains. “Biologically speaking, women have a genetic predisposition to depression and deal with fluctuating hormones, unlike men. Between menstrual cycles, childbearing, and menopause, not to mention medical procedures like hysterectomies, a lot of women I talk to feel that they struggle because of these issues. Women are complex creatures. Postpartum depression, fear of sexual inadequacy, insecurities, and related anxiety all stem from this.”
2. Low self-esteem.
Connie Habash, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, emphasizes the stress and anxiety that women experience in today’s world, which can also lead to low self-esteem: another common issues discussed in counseling for women. “Women are dealing with more stress and anxiety than ever before. There is great pressure to embody all the qualities that women are perceived to have in the 21st century: successful in the workplace, attentive mother who takes her children to multiple activities, devoted partner yet independent with her own life. They’re expected to be ultra-fit (and who has time for getting to a yoga class or can afford a Peleton?) and magazine-cover sexy at the same time,” she explains. “As a result, many women feel low self-esteem because they compare themselves to this superwoman image and feel they come up short. It’s not sustainable or realistic, and it inhibits each of us from being our authentic, and more fulfilled, selves.”
3. Problems in the workplace.
Many women also experience workplace issues, of which may cause or worsen mental health problems like those mentioned above. “Female clients with mental health disorders (such as anxiety and depression) frequently report career problems that have negatively impacted their mental health, including workplace bullying, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in promotions and raises,” says Kerin Groves, Licensed Professional Counselor and Career Coach. “Many women declare that their mental health problems were precipitated by workplace issues, not the other way around, but they avoided bringing their concerns to management out of fear of retaliation.”
4. Guilt and self-blame.
Another common issue among women that is addressed in counseling is guilt and self-blame, two results of assault. “Working with women survivors of assault, there is a great deal of undeserved self-blame that comes from the freeze response,” explains Amy Oestreicher, PTSD Specialist and Creative Arts Therapist. “Many survivors ‘know’ that being sexually assaulted was not their fault. Now, I’m one of them. But the question I’ve worked to answer after a decade of ‘healing’ and ‘processing’ what happened to me is, ‘Well, then why didn’t I do something?’ I had heard this dozens and dozens of times—in my own head and with students who have opened up to me during my programs. Many victims of abuse, molestation, and domestic violence often feel a guilt that they are not deserving of.”
5. Relationship problems.
Finally, many women experience relationship issues, which they can learn to manage in counseling. These might be romantic relationships or relationships with family members. Ruthie Kalai, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, explains: “Relationship issues can include problems with current partners or difficulty finding a meaningful relationship. Oftentimes, they are trying to uncover the meaning behind persistent patterns of behaviors that pose problems in relationships such as gaps in communication. Many of my female clients struggle with setting healthy and appropriate boundaries with family members. Perhaps they are taking care of an elderly parent and are struggling to balance taking care of themselves and their loved one.”
Many of us are so busy taking care of everything else—our jobs, families, friends—that we don’t take care of the top priority: ourselves. If we stop to focus on ourselves for a bit, we will have more to give to our relationships and other important areas of life. If you are struggling with the above issues, or others, consider working with a counselor.