Short-term counselling: A reassuring route into therapy for the undecided
“Will I click with this counsellor? Could I imagine trusting this person enough to share some of my deepest fears? Am I obligated to simply keep attending? Will counselling be worth my time and hard-earned money?”
These are just some of the concerns that can make a person wary of investing in talk therapy and they are perfectly reasonable concerns, one could even argue that a person may be suppressing their feelings if they didn’t acknowledge them.
For somebody considering talk therapy or for somebody who is reluctant or resistant to seeking help of this nature, short-term counselling (typically six to eight sessions) is a means of laying down or testing such apprehensions in a way that can lessen feelings of vulnerability or obligation.
From here on in, this article looks to highlight some of the advantages of working this way.
The advantages of short-term counselling.
- Short-term counselling focuses on a particular goal, chosen with the support of your counsellor. This focus enhances the chance of progress being made sooner (in an area) than might occur with a broader exploration of a person’s difficulties.
- Homing in on a particular goal gives clients the chance to steer away from areas that, initially, may feel too intense or personal to discuss. Beginning with a something less intense or personal creates time for a person to develop greater trust in the counsellor and/or the counselling process.
- Having a particular goal provides the client clarity and purpose for each session – elements that can be quite reassuring for a person going through a turbulent, confusing or sometimes chaotic period.
- When a period of short-term counselling ends, the client will always walk away having gained, even if more work needs to be done to reach the goal originally discussed. For instance, this could be a clearer view of their situation and priorities, greater self-awareness and often, new perspectives.
- Short-term counselling provides a clear ending to the work i.e. six to eight sessions, a characteristic of which being a summary of what has been achieved and what the client might like to focus on during a further phase of counselling – whether the client chooses the same therapist or a different one.
To close, it only seems fair to remember the subtle and surprisingly powerful benefit of counselling as a whole - the sense of being given the space and consideration to be heard, in an atmosphere where different thoughts are seen as natural and valuable.
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About Tony Waddington
Tony Waddington is an person-centred therapeutic counsellor. He has delivered talk therapy for several reputable organisations such as the NHS, Mind and the Samaritans where he was a listener, leader and trainer. He currently volunteers with Hitchin Counselling Service and offers therapy from his private practice in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire.