Top five reasons why therapy works

One of the most frequently asked questions is “How does counselling work?” When someone calls me and asks this question, I have to admit that my mind tends to flood with a bundle of examples and theory. None of these help the person asking the question. So here are my top five reasons why therapy works.

  • Therapy provides a safe environment: A safe environment is one where you can talk and feel about what’s on your mind without fear of consequences. Your therapist will not become over-emotional or angry or judge you or tell you why you are wrong. He or she will be with you in your experience no matter what that experience is.
  • Your therapist will provide you with a partner and companion during the session: This means they will share the pain or strong emotions that may come up for you as you talk about difficult emotions, experiences or feelings. You will not be alone, you will be supported.
  • You will be heard: Your therapist will listen to what you have to say both verbally and non-verbally.  They will stay with you at a deep level, hearing what is said as well as not said. He or she will hear areas of confusion, areas of need as well as areas of sadness or happiness. As they listen they will reflect back to you what they think you are saying. This helps you understand yourself more. Often people come to therapy now knowing what is wrong, only that they are not happy.  Active listening is one way we learn what is underpinning your distress.
  • They will never tell you what to do: Many people coming to counselling want an answer to a question. So, they assume that is what a therapist does. Which is true, but counsellors help you find the answers to your questions, rather than giving you the answer.  Answers often become clear when you establish which of your thoughts belong to you and which ones were injected at a young age from people like parents and teachers.
  • Therapy creates a space for you: When your therapist is with you, they just focus on you - there are no telephones, computers or televisions to interrupt you. Many say that this is often the first time in years where they have had this kind of space and time dedicated to them. During this time they get to experience what it like for them in the outside world, which is often a world where they give a lot to other people and forget about themselves.

“Therapy works because it is time for you to be you.”

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