Time for a service?

It is not uncommon for clients to dip in and out of counselling, same as we go to the dentist or have our cars serviced regularly, so do some clients go to counselling regularly. Perhaps not as frequently.


I certainly have dipped in and out of counselling over the years. It makes sense - a high-performing machine such as a car needs to be serviced at regular intervals in order to maintain its efficiency. We feel the benefit from reduced fuel consumption and no breakdowns. Interesting use of the word there. Or with the dentist, we avoid tooth decay and toothache.

As with cars and dentists, so with people. 

Yes, counselling is a good way of dealing with dilemmas and catastrophes. It helps us navigate a way through challenges we may have never experienced before or difficulties we have tried to work through on our own. Somehow never quite being able to find a solution that works for us.

Counselling as a regular thing is, I feel, similar to a car being serviced, or a trip to the dentist in some ways. When we seek the help of others (mechanics, dentists or counsellors) we open up a space to explore an issue or a particular way of behaving that does not serve us so well any longer. The poor cold starting car, the plaque on our teeth or a persistent feeling of not feeling how we want to feel. I would not have any idea as to how to sort out an engine management chip. I know a mechanic who can though.

So with counselling. I know I don’t like or want to behave/think in a certain way anymore but don’t know how to change it. But I know a counsellor can give me the room to explore the issue. A space where I am accepted, not judged nor compelled to do it a certain way. I have the time and space I need to work on any issue that I want to work on.

So instead of unresolved issues becoming so overwhelming or taking up so much space as to crowd out normal living, counselling allows us time to maintain and to service our inner selves. We can avoid burnout and keep up a healthy and fulfilling way of feeling and thinking. Instead of becoming like the grouch or moody person who is hard to be around we can keep ourselves as we would want to be. The person we do not like being but seem unable to change can access the opportunity to change in counselling.

In the counselling world, this is referred to as the self-actualising tendency. Our mind lets into it just what it can deal with and nothing more. Abraham Maslow, when describing the conditions that are necessary to be met for self-actualising states that after various conditions such as food, shelter, housing, acknowledgement of our peers etc. we can be fully self-actualising people. Take away any of the conditions and we are no longer self-actualising. No longer able to be content and self-accepting. It's hard being cheerful when we are cold, hungry and have nowhere to shelter.

With regular counselling, we can appreciate the enjoyable things in our lives. For me, they include the sun on the clouds, the birdsong, a tune that I just have to move to or the welcome greeting for a friend. I acknowledge and deal with dark moods, cloudy days, self-loathing and mind full of doubts. I deal with them and by doing so they stay a part of me but not all of me. To use a much-overused word, I feel a sense of being balanced. Unbalanced has so many negative connotations after all.

 So I ask you “Is it time for a service?”. 

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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Chelmsford CM1
Written by Steve Fayers, Counsellor / Therapist | Certified Trauma Therapist
Chelmsford CM1

I am a person, a counsellor, a parent, a flawed human being who has struggled with life. Struggled with addiction.
I would rather struggle than give in and accept a life that does not meet my needs and wants.
I am trying to be the best person I can be.
"I will not go quietly into that goodnight " (paraphrased Dylan Thomas)

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