Five ways counselling can help
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
3rd April, 20140 Comments
“Don’t let mental blocks control you. Set yourself free. Confront your fear and turn the mental blocks into building blocks.”
These words might have been written to inspire us to seek help when faced with a seemingly intractable problem that we feel we do not have the capacity to solve. You find yourself looking through a counselling website, but can it really be the help that you need? This article looks at five ways that counselling can make a difference for you.
1. Talking openly and honestly
Of course you may have family and friends who you can genuinely say anything to and for that gift you should be very grateful. For many people, while they have good friends and family, there are some subjects that they can’t open up about. Perhaps because it might cause a family rift, or perhaps because you don’t want to worry your mum/partner/dad/children. Sometimes if we take our friends advice we feel bound to take it. There are very practical situations when you need time to talk through your feelings but are wary of the effect of others in your life.
2. Getting alternative insights
When we face problems in our lives, we are right 'in' them sometimes ‘living on our nerves’, never feeling that we have the full picture, never being sure of who or what to trust and where to go or what to do. The expression 'can’t see the wood for the trees' describes well how day to day anxieties and problems seem to prevent us from tackling the main problems. A counsellor can help you to see other fresh perspectives and offer alternative interpretations of the experiences that you have had, and through those perhaps you may find it easier to manage your anxiety, deal with your relationship problems or tackle the problems that you face.
3. Talking without judgment
Often we can be trapped by what we think others will say about our actions or our thoughts and so we bottle the feelings up and they can become quite toxic. A common example would be ‘big boys don’t cry’. In reality big boys like every other human have a range of emotions including those that make them cry - they often don’t because of what others might think though. Similarly you might hold a situation of feelings inside. Counselling is based around non-judgemental principles that are neither helpful nor indeed relevant to judge what has happened; counselling is interested in how you the client are and how you want to change to move to a happier more contented state.
4. Talking through difficult situations
There are many situations that we might face in life, extraordinary situations where we are unsure what to do. Perhaps we are being bullied by our boss at work. If we complain, will we be believed and get it stopped? Or will we be seen as a trouble maker and perhaps even lose our job? Or perhaps we have discovered that our partner has been unfaithful and we don’t know what we want to do. Counselling offers that safe space to really pick apart the emotional tangle and look at the options that face you, before you ever make a move in the real world. What would have to happen with your partner? What would you need to confront your boss and so forth?
5. Be given the answer to all of your problems
In fact this is one of the things that counselling is not. Unfortunately counselling in not an answer in itself. It can be a very important tool in helping you on your route to the answer, but no counsellor holds the answer to your problem (and be very wary of any that claim to have). Counselling is about giving you the space and time amidst a crisis in your life to think about your problems with a different perspective. It is about reflection and finding the best way forward for you.
In conclusion, there are many reasons that people enter counselling, many who never thought that they would need to, or indeed that counselling was of value, yet there are very tangible things that counselling can offer to make a real difference in your life and help find the way forward that will make a difference for you.
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