Am I ready for counselling?

Have you ever found yourself right before entering a situation, whether it be going to an interview, the first day of a new job, going on a date or any other new experience and asking yourself, "Am I ready for this?" 


This is a question many people ask themselves when considering counselling. Just like taking that step into any of the new experiences described above, deciding to seek counselling can be a big step towards healing and growth. 

However, how do you know if you are truly ready? Perhaps you have been watching videos and reading articles online in relation to what is on your mind and testing out different coping mechanisms, maybe you have tried to speak to your partner, friends and family or it may be that you are unable to speak to them. 

Whatever stage you find yourself in, it is important to consider whether you are ready to take that plunge into counselling and all the potential it holds for personal transformation.

Signs that indicate you may be ready for counselling

One way you make look it, is, are you feeling like you are stuck in your own ‘storm’ or ‘downpour’ without an umbrella and unsure of which way to turn, if so, then it may be time to consider seeking counselling. 

If you find yourself constantly struggling with overwhelming emotions, having trouble in maintaining healthy relationships, or feeling trapped by negative thought patterns, these could also be signs that you are ready for counselling. 

Empowered Counselling Services can provide the support and guidance needed to navigate through life's challenges. Simply recognising these indicators, means you could be ready to take the first step towards healing and growth.

As you ponder whether now is the right time to seek counselling, it is important to acknowledge your own readiness for this journey. 

For example, are you open to exploring new perspectives and making positive changes in your life? Are you willing to invest time and effort into self-discovery and personal development? These are crucial factors to consider before embarking on the path of counselling. 

As the  right counsellor may need to look at your core existing beliefs which you use to shape your world, to question where they came from, are they serving you, if not, let us challenge them together.

Factors to consider before seeking counselling

So, you have been thinking about seeking counselling. Maybe you have even noticed some signs that indicate it could be helpful for you. However, before taking the leap, there are a few factors to consider. 

Firstly, you need to think about finding the right one for you, whether that be based on sex, age, location, fee, etc. and then on top of that, if you are ready to open up and be vulnerable with that professional. 

Then ask yourself, are you willing to explore difficult emotions and confront painful experiences? As counselling can take you to some deep, dark places particularly if there are things in there from your past affecting your present either consciously or unconsciously.   

Likewise, it is important to also weigh the financial commitment (do you have a budget for it) and time investment that counselling requires. Additionally, consider whether you have a support system in place outside of therapy. 

Having friends or family members who can offer emotional support is helpful during this process, however, it may be that you go through a lot of this alone away from the therapy room as you reflect and look inwardly on what you are learning and subsequently how you feel about it.

Steps to take to prepare for counselling

Before taking the step to seek counselling, it is important to consider certain factors and take some necessary steps to prepare for the process. 

One key factor to consider is your readiness and willingness to engage in therapy. This is especially important if you are looking at couples/marriage therapy. Both parties need to have a willingness to engage (you may not be both at the same level of readiness but at least some level of engagement must at least be wanted from both).

Likewise, if it is just you looking at therapy to re-iterate your willingness to be vulnerable and be prepared to view things, memories, emotions etc and their impact on you for better or worse. 

A slight caveat from this, is a lot will depend on the skills of the counsellor and as important the ‘therapeutic relationship’ that you form with each other (this is actually vital).

Once you have made that decision, there are several steps you can take to ensure you are prepared for counselling.

  • It is essential to do some self-reflection and identify what specific issues or challenges you want to address during counselling (if you haven’t done so already). This will help you set clear goals for yourself and communicate them effectively with your counsellor.
  • Additionally, it is beneficial to research different types of therapy and find a style that resonates with you for example, would it be a person-centred approach (very much about feelings in the here and now). A CBT approach (more clinical, using relevant tasks to help you look and approach things differently). Maybe a more psychodynamic approach (often looking into the past to see what effect that has had on the present).  

An integrative approach is how we work at Empowered Counselling Services, which is a combination of the three mentioned above. However, there are various other approaches that may be suitable for you. Therefore, doing some research may help you feel more comfortable and confident when starting sessions.

  • Next, as mentioned already, if possible, for you, reaching out for support from friends or family members can be incredibly helpful in preparing for counselling. 

Having a supportive network around you can provide emotional encouragement and reassurance as you embark on this journey (but as already mentioned it may not be suitable/relevant for you). 

  • Finally, taking care of your physical health through regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can contribute positively to your overall well-being which may sound simple on the surface, is also very important.

By considering these factors and taking these preparatory steps, individuals can feel more ready and confident as they start their counselling journey. 

Remember that seeking help is a positive step towards better mental health and personal growth.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, ‘stuck,’ or unable to cope with life's challenges, it may be a sign that you are ready for counselling.

Do you feel unhappy a lot of the time, are you unsure of your relationship, job, friends, etc. Could the issue lie in you or is it really with them or is it both? It is important to consider factors such as your readiness for change and willingness to engage in the process before seeking help. 

Taking the steps to prepare for counselling can include researching therapists, setting goals for what you hope to achieve, and being open to exploring difficult emotions. 

According to the American Psychological Association, 50% of adults will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, highlighting the importance of seeking support when needed. 

It is important to note that the outcome may be something deep-rooted, that has been found and once found it is processed/made peace with, etc. It is also important to note that there may be nothing profound that is hidden away and it could simply be one, obvious current thing that is identified that is causing your unhappiness.

The key thing is, that no matter how ‘large’ or ‘small’ the issue(s) that are found that is affecting you negatively - it is, that it is processed and you now feel better for that and ultimately and you can move forward.

Therefore, do not let the size of the issue(s) be a problem, it may feel ‘trivial’ but it may be attached to the edge of something deeper or it may turn out to be ‘trivial’ but the key is that you have learned to see it for what it is, as opposed to something bigger and in turn you can process it and move on.

Likewise, it may feel like it's a big issue(s) and it is that big, or once you have faced it and processed, it was never really that big after all.

Again, the key to counselling/therapy is the place that you end up through the journey it has taken to get you there.

Finally, remember, it is okay to ask for help when taking care of your mental health.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Wigan, Lancashire, WN1
Written by Ray Cruise
Wigan, Lancashire, WN1

I am an Integrative Psychotherapist/Counsellor based at Empowered Counselling Services.

I really enjoy working with people through their issues in a safe, non-judgmental, warm, empathetic environment - to see them change and transform as they begin to have their own realisations and, in turn, find and make the changes they need.

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