What counselling is all about...
This is just to help you get a clearer picture of what counselling is all about. First of all, each counsellor is different just like the people we meet in everyday life; some we will warm to and others we won’t. It is very difficult to work out who will be the best counsellor for us to use because often we don’t have much information about them…maybe a photograph and a paragraph or two.
I think that the best thing to remember is that, when you speak to a counsellor for the first time, it is important that you feel comfortable with them. It’s important that it feels right for you. Do not be afraid of making this clear and telling the counsellor if they are not ticking the boxes you are looking for.
The other thing is that all counsellors will ‘counsel’ slightly differently. There are different types of counselling and the personality of the counsellor will affect the way they deliver it. Again, it is a good idea for you to ask the counsellor what type of counselling they use and to have them explain it to you so that you can check that it is right for you.
Counselling is about being able to talk and express the feelings and thoughts that you have to someone who can really listen to you, understand what you’re saying and help you to better understand your issues and yourself. Putting actual words to these thoughts and feelings and speaking them out loud can really give you a greater sense of understanding and ownership of those things.
Talking about our thoughts and feelings can be scary. It takes courage, but it is a healthy way to deal with what you are experiencing. It is human nature to need to talk about our stuff, even on a daily basis or when things get tough. We all know what it’s like to just tell somebody our stresses and how that helps us to take control of them. It’s the same with counselling. Talking about things helps us to take control rather than being controlled.
Often people will try to ignore the stuff that’s causing them problems and other people will try everything they can to deal with it by themselves. Sometimes this works, but often we come right back to where we started…maybe a little bit wiser, but still struggling. Self-help books can be useful as well, but they prescribe a method of dealing with something that can be quite general and not specific to our personal needs.
The beauty of counselling is that it is tailored to our needs. We talk about what is important to us. We explore the issues that we know are at the heart of our troubles and we do it with the guidance and support of an expert counsellor. That way we can deal with the problem quicker and in a way that is right for us.
One last thing…do not think that the counsellor you choose to work with is perfect and has the perfect life. They have their issues as well. They are on their mountain and you are on yours. The difference is that they have got a better view of your mountain because they are looking at it from a different perspective and have the training to pick out what is important and what will help you.
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Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
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