Counselling for change

Something isn’t right, something needs to change - this is what your mind and body are saying when you experience the fight/flight stress reaction to a perceived 'threat' your unconscious mind has recognised. The confusion, uncertainty and decision-making this brings are why people come to counselling; to explore, find new perspectives, and get guidance and advice (albeit, counsellors don’t advise but can offer insights, reflection and experience to clients).


Often, people know what isn’t right and want it to be right or become right. Deep down we know that something needs to change, we just need reflection, or perhaps 'permission' or acceptance that we are thinking right and that our feelings are valid. This can then help us to move into change mode and start the transition with more confidence and clarity as to what direction to go in.

Change is never comfortable. Even if a change is chosen - moving home, a new job or promotion, family changes and relationships - transition is a period of adjustment and uncertainty and effort. So it isn’t comfortable and easy.

How to create change

Let's take the change and development model of forming, storming, norming and performing (FSNP) that was used to explain business changes for teams especially.


People come together without choice, with the skills and outlook, the organisation's goals to aim for and clear objectives. They may not know each other, like each other, work the same way or think and feel the same way, and have different values, perceptions, etc.


This takes place as everyone adjusts to their role, uses their skills working together for a common aim, meets and understands how each work, the manager manages and the organisation requires of them - discussions, arguments, acceptance or disputes, developing that team cohesion.


This comes after this storming phase. People learn their place, their role, their input and output, and what is expected and needed of them and they become a team (a family, a relationship, a friendship or social group or sports team, gym member, etc).


This only arises once these stages are completed - the preferred, expected, and needed outcomes to achieve the organisation and team goals. Whilst the other stages go on, some productivity is likely lost overall or individually by most if not all. That is par for the course.

Similarly, this applies to home, personal or professional settings. It’s uncomfortable, uncertain, and unproductive for a time but things settle into a 'new normal' (a new phrase we are all now familiar with but has always applied to change and adjustments).

How can counselling help?

Counselling can help you at each and all of these stages - to express your thoughts and feelings, reflect on how you can manage them, and help you to look forward and see what will or can change and how this will affect you and your life, your situation.

Different counselling approaches can help in different ways. It might be very person-centred (where you talk and the counsellor reflects), integrative (with various techniques and tools from different models) or CBT - that helps to change the mind/mindset or perspective of the client.

Even just expressing your feelings clarifies for you why you feel as you do, what values or needs might be being challenged for you and how you can adjust to the others in your situation and how you can expect them to also adjust from their perspective.

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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