Avoidance of Counseling: Psychological Factors That Inhibit Seeking Help



How do counselors reach out to individuals who are reluctant to seek counseling services? To answer this question, the authors examined the research on the psychological help-seeking barriers from counseling, clinical and social psychology, as well as social work and psychiatry. Specific avoidance factors that have been identified in the mental health literature; important variations in the setting, problem type, demographics, and cultural characteristics that can influence the degree to which avoidance factors affect professional help-seeking decisions; and suggestions for overcoming these avoidance factors are discussed.