Maybe you’ve entertained the idea of having personal counselling…and quickly dismissed the thought before allowing it to take a hold of your mind. Or perhaps you’ve never considered counselling as an option.
Perhaps in the heat of an argument words were exchanged something like, “You need therapy!” Which in short means, “You’re crazy, go pay someone to fix you!” – making you swear you’d never give that the person the satisfaction of ever going down that road.
“What is counselling anyway?” you ask.
“And how would I benefit? Isn’t it just for people who’ve hit ‘rock bottom’ and have no idea how to manage their lives and emotions? I’m coping okay!”
Counselling has been an ‘unknown’ realm to many in our society in times past. However, in more recent years those walls and barriers once preventing people from seeking counselling are gradually being dismantled to help people understand the incredible benefits of engaging with such a professional service.
While it is important for every client to ask a number of key questions of their prospective counsellor (which we will look at next time), once you’ve settled on the counsellor/therapist you wish to engage with there are a few things you can expect.
Without question, the first responsibility of the counsellor is to provide you with a safe, confidential, professional relationship where you are able to speak openly and freely about the issues at the fore-front of your mind, causing you, and perhaps your family, stress or concern.
One misconception I’d like to address here is the understanding that counsellors just tell clients what to do, or give advice. There may be situations where these things are considered appropriate, however for the most-part counselling is about listening to you as the client and empowering you to be proactive in making positive changes to assist you in achieving your goals and improving your relationships. It is not just a conversation. You, the client, are supported through the counselling process while you work through those issues, with the goal to improve your quality of life.
So why? Why would you want to engage in a counselling relationship like I’ve just described?
Do you ever feel like you’re the only one who thinks or feels the way you do? Or that you should be able to manage the problems you encounter on your own? Do you feel like you don’t know where you’d start? Or you just have too many questions? Or is it that you’re worried about overwhelming yourself again with all that has happened in your past? Are you concerned about what counselling might uncover?
As I see it, counselling exists to help you break the isolation you feel, assisting you in your journey to grow in your understanding of yourself and the issues you struggle with. It is about helping you explore and discover new strategies, mindsets and behaviours to make the changes you wish to make. It IS about finding a way forward. In order to do this, where appropriate, you may be challenged respectfully on any unhelpful thinking or reasoning, and any unhelpful or inconsistent behaviours that may be highlighted.
Counselling is about giving you the chance to feel heard, without judgement, having the chance to find support and understanding, and explore new ways of dealing with life as you encounter it.
I always honour my clients for taking the first step to pick up the phone and make their first appointment. It takes incredible strength and courage to reach out for help. In doing so, you are taking one step closer to greater freedom from the pain of your past, and the stress and anxiety it produces in your present.
Results in counselling, and length of therapy will vary with each individual or couple, and will largely be determined by the complexity of the issues and the pace at which you are able to process and put in place your new understandings. Evidence based research has shown that multiple sessions bring about the most lasting change.
Do you believe you are worth the investment? Do you believe you deserve it? Are you happy just coping, surviving, or are you looking for a life with greater meaning and purpose? How desperately do you want to move forward into lasting change?
You owe it to yourself and those you love to process your pain!
I believe in you. You have what it takes!
With you on this journey,