Understanding patterns of behaviour

During a session with a client, she said "I get it now, I can see the pattern". She had been receiving long-term therapy with me. She has a realisation that because of counselling, she started connecting the dots herself.


She started counselling because she was unhappy in her relationship. I think there is a misconception of the reasons why people attend therapy. Society attempts to get us to think that therapy 'should' be the last step and is only for people who have "chaotic problems". This plays a huge part in why clients don't seek therapy initially. 

My client could complete daily tasks, attend work, and socialise, but she was significantly unhappy in her relationship. She felt she could not speak to her loved ones. Her head felt scrambled. She took the step to seek professional help via The Counselling Directory. 

Clients are provided with a secure and safe space and a contract to help them understand what a safe space entails.

My counselling approach is psychodynamic therapy. This type of therapy looks into patterns of behaviour through exploring emotional experiences. In some cases, these emotional experiences were in childhood. 

Clients are encouraged to speak about anything that might be on their minds. There is no agenda and no direct path to figure out these significant emotional experiences. Clients can speak about current issues such as their current relationship or speak about things that have happened in the past.

This process involves looking into a deeper understanding of their mental processes. Through counselling, significant experiences can be unpicked and linked to behaviour.  Clients may act and respond to certain situations without understanding why. 

For client A she realised the way she behaves in her current romantic relationship was linked to how she was not taught to manage relationships in her childhood. She realised she was constantly reacting the same in different relationships. 

What I like to call "lightbulb" moments happen in counselling. This allows clients to gain perspective into their emotional lives. They can see a pattern of behaviour, but is this the behaviour they want?

Therapy can help clients learn healthier / new ways to respond in similar situations because they have connected their why.  A client previously asked me "Do they need to be big moments in my life?" no, not all. A benefit from long-term therapy is having the time to look into moments that perhaps wouldn't be the most obvious. 

If you are feeling lost or unhappy in your relationship, counselling is a safe space for you to figure out or work through relationship concerns. Counselling can help you look into patterns, whether that is your behaviour or how you react. The process is to look into new ways of responding and to move away from self-blame.

You can have 'lightbulb moments too'. Counselling is a process and can be provided long-term or short-term. I would suggest thinking about what it is you want to gain from counselling and being as open as you can with your counsellor.

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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London, E15
Written by Jacqueline Fernandez, online/telephone counselling
London, E15

Jacqueline Fernandez MA MBACP, based in East London. MA in Counselling, Graduate Certificate in Counselling Psychology, BSc Psychology.
I am providing counselling session via online and telephone

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