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  • Writer's pictureYvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS

Navigating Intensity: Understanding Why Counseling Sessions Can Get Intense

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery and healing through counseling is a brave and transformative endeavor. At times, however, the intensity of counseling sessions can catch individuals off guard.

In this blog post, let's explore the reasons behind the occasional intensity of counseling sessions and shed light on how embracing these moments can contribute to profound personal growth. So, instead of being caught off guard you have a game plan to navigate those occasional intense sessions.

1. Unearthing Deep Emotions:

Counseling serves as a space to explore and unpack deep-seated emotions and experiences. As individuals delve into their thoughts and feelings, it's natural for intense emotions to surface. These emotions, though challenging, are crucial in the therapeutic process, paving the way for healing and understanding.

2. Confronting Unresolved Issues:

Many seek counseling to address unresolved issues or longstanding challenges. As these issues come to the forefront, the process of confronting them can be emotionally charged. Intensity often arises when individuals face aspects of their lives that have been avoided or overlooked.

3. Breaking Down Defense Mechanisms:

Throughout life, individuals develop defense mechanisms to cope with stress and protect themselves emotionally. In counseling, these defense mechanisms are gradually dismantled to uncover underlying issues. This process can be intense as individuals face vulnerability without the protective shield of their usual coping strategies.

4. Navigating Change and Growth:

Counseling is inherently a process of change and growth. Exploring new perspectives, challenging ingrained beliefs, and adopting healthier coping mechanisms can be uncomfortable and, at times, intense. This intensity often accompanies the transformative journey toward personal development.

5. Exploring Painful Memories:

Delving into past experiences, especially those associated with pain, trauma or betrayal, can be emotionally charged. Counseling sessions provide a safe space to explore these memories and experiences, but the process can evoke intense emotions as individuals work towards resolution and healing.

6. Heightened Self-Awareness:

Counseling fosters heightened self-awareness, encouraging individuals to examine their thoughts, behaviors, and relationships. The process of self-discovery can be intense as individuals gain a clearer understanding of themselves and their patterns.

7. Establishing Trust and Connection:

Building a trusting relationship with a therapist takes time, and as trust deepens, individuals may feel more comfortable expressing intense emotions. This trust and connection are essential for the therapeutic process but can contribute to the intensity of sessions.

While the intensity of counseling sessions may initially seem overwhelming, it is important to recognize these moments as integral to the therapeutic journey. Embracing the intensity allows individuals to navigate their emotional landscape, fostering healing, growth, and a profound understanding of themselves. As you embark on this transformative path, remember that the intensity of counseling sessions is a testament to your courage and commitment to personal well-being. Lastly, if you are struggling to recover after intense session bring it into the therapy room in order that you can game plan with your therapist an after care plan.

"In the depth of vulnerability lies the strength to heal, and in the courage to explore the depths of our souls, we unearth the treasures of self-discovery and resilience."


As a counselor and writer navigating the intricate landscape of neurodiversity with both autism and ADHD, my professional journey is a testament to the strength that comes from embracing diverse perspectives. Through the lens of my own experiences, I strive to illuminate the beauty and resilience inherent in neurodivergent individuals. As a counselor, I am committed to providing a safe and inclusive space, where the nuances of neurodiversity are not just understood but celebrated. In my writing, I aim to bridge gaps in understanding, fostering a broader dialogue that promotes acceptance and appreciation for the rich tapestry of human cognition. My dual roles as a counselor and writer converge in a passion for advocacy, championing the rights and unique strengths of neurodivergent individuals. In every word and session, I aspire to contribute to a world that recognizes and values the diverse ways we experience and navigate the world.


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