"Going Through" the Counselling Process
As counsellors, we are required to go through personal counselling whilst we train, and I would say it's recommended to carry on after training is completed - there is always something more to learn, ways to grow and blind spots to take care of. Therefore, we are no strangers to how painful "going through" the counselling process can be. Yes, in the end, looking back, it is worth every tear and every difficult moment we spend trying to figure out what is going on, why it's going on, or what went on and why it went on, not to forget the all important here-and-now what and when with our own counsellor.
Counselling is like an archaeological dig in some respects, and like taking a plaster off in others. It awakens deep feelings we probably didn't even know we had, unprocessed parts of our stories that affect us in the now, for better or worse. In a word, when in counselling a person might feel RAW. Everything is lifted and up in the air, leaving us to wonder, when are things going to feel settled and "normal" again...Why did I even start this process, it's too painful...
It is important as counsellors to remind our clients that we know what they're going through, that we understand how painful uncovering repressed and traumatic things from their past and present, can be, but also to reassure them that this won't last forever. That they are not on their own whilst dealing with their stuff, and that they will come to a point where it will all make sense, and they will be better off for having stuck with the process.
Going through our own counselling makes us better practitioners, because we have the experience of sitting on the client's chair, we have uncovered repressed and traumatic things in our own lives and have learned more or less to bear them, to deal with them, to work on them, and to make sense of it all in the end.
There's always more to "go through", as the unconscious is vast, and the ego will always try and keep the repressed where it is, but as much work as we do on ourselves, the better it will be for our own wellbeing but also it will be so beneficial to our clients, as we will be better equipped to help see them through their present struggles.
Clients who come to us for counselling are looking to "make sense" of the issues that brought them to counselling to start with. We must remember that in order to get to that place where things "make sense" again, we must hold a space of safety, trust and confidentiality for our clients, and hold them - through our particular modalities, emphatically, professionally, ethically and more importantly, humanely - through the painful process of "going through" to find what they came seeking.