What are your goals for therapy?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Carrie Munday - MBACP (Registered Member)
10th July, 20170 Comments
When clients come to therapy for the first time and they are asked what their goals are the most common answer is ‘I want to feel better’. Of course this is a valid answer, however, as a client we need to understand that counselling is an active process and we have our role to play in it, to be ‘actively engaged’. So what is this active engagement – surely this means turning up, staying to the end of the session, listening dutifully and paying the appropriate fee? Many think so but therapy involves work outside of the counselling environment; whether it be via mutually agreed set tasks, reflection, implementing better practices for living, psychoeducation... and perhaps the starting point begins with thinking about what we want to achieve from attending counselling sessions.
Therapy is not something that is done to us – our counsellor cannot fix us, only we can do this. Life sometimes feels very unfair and indeed sometimes, things are done to us and we are left with the aftermath. It makes sense, therefore, that we might learn that things are done to us and this will be the case with therapy as well. However, despite whatever our previous experiences may be; our thoughts and feelings are our responsibility and ours alone.
A counsellor needs to respect a clients’ free will, autonomy and their responsibility for their own life. If they take on that responsibility either by wresting it from the client or accepting it as a consequence of the client’s abdication, there can be no progress. Therapy will only effect change by clients regaining their own sense of self-agency, their understanding that they are responsible for their lives.
A counsellor cannot effect healing by rescuing clients from their feelings, no matter how much a client may want them to. So if you are considering therapy and want to ‘feel better’ perhaps your goals might include things such as:
- Gaining mastery.
- Developing self-control.
- Working through and learning from past experiences.
- Developing a sense of ourselves as an empowered and autonomous human being.
- Psycho education.
- Learning stabilisation/coping techniques.
- Building self-reliance.
About the author
My name is Carrie Munday and I am a qualified counsellor based in Gravesend with particular experience in counselling clients affected by trauma e.g. sexual abuse, domestic abuse, rape.
Related articles from our experts
Renee Norris MBACP Counsellor & PsychotherapistFebruary 16th, 2018
Jayne Booth BSc (Hons) UKCP Registered Psychotherapeutic CounsellorFebruary 1st, 2018
Selena Doggett-Jones Relationship/Psychosexual Therapist, COSRT accred, MBACPFebruary 12th, 2018
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Coach, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.