Why clients may not use their session

Counselling clients sometimes choose not to attend their session - by cancelling in a timely manner or at times just not turning up - because they are feeling bad or low or have a lot on their mind.


Yet that is precisely why they are undertaking counselling, isn't it? For help and support to find a way past the problems to the solutions. 

Why do they not use that time to face the problem whilst it is 'live' and in the moment rather than discuss it after the event or, for prevention, before it might happen?

Counselling is a process of learning and exploring.

If you are feeling it and experiencing the problem - over-thinking, anxiety, stress, upset, worry - your counsellor can help you manage it there and then, in the moment, giving you the chance to really understand and see the benefits of the insights or techniques they can offer you.

Hiding from it has likely only caused you to get 'worse' into your stress and upset than when it started, when understanding it might have prevented the burnout, the anxiety or the depression from developing.

Your mind does mull over and over the problems you are currently facing: that is the job of your mind, your brain. It can be scary when 'something is happening to you' that you don’t (yet) understand but will make much more sense when you do, and then you can feel back in control! And you will feel upset and anxious, worried or confused because your mind cannot think about anything more than the problems it has to face and resolve, to stop your stress and harm your body.

So next time you don’t feel motivated to take that call or attend the session, or when you feel you cannot face someone, anyone, please consider taking the session in hand because you will learn more about yourself and your options when you do.

Illustration of a person holding an umbrella for another person

Counselling is a process of learning and exploring what is happening to you and why (and it's usually for good cause but you just may not feel you can control the reactions and thoughts, but you can learn). Even the short term solution focussed counselling looks at how you can reduce the current stress and stressors in your environment at that time, whilst person-centred 'listening/reflecting' counselling helps you recognise your habits and beliefs over time.  

Other therapeutic models have different approaches with tools and techniques like CBT, or insights like transactional analysis or EMDR and many others.

They are a process of building one session at a time from rapport building and getting to know each other, through gaining more knowledge and awareness to understanding the underlying issues you can learn to manage for yourself and take forward to your better personal future.

It's like the advice to 'take your medications as prescribed or you won’t feel the full effects and the bugs can develop immunity to them' - if you don’t follow your process of allocated sessions then you risk missing out on vital help and future opportunities to better manage yourself and the old problems find their way back, and impinge again on your life and happiness.

So what might be happening for you as a client?

Maybe you feel afraid to share more than you have, it's unfamiliar and hard to look at yourself and your situation, face up to things and even take responsibility for resolving the problems?

Perhaps you are tired, exhausted from constantly 'fighting' the world or inner conflict to make choices and decisions, to take action on things you feel unsure about (right choice etc) so it's easier to hide again?

It could be that you don’t feel the connection with your counsellor in which case you just have to share your concerns, as you have the other issues you're taking to counselling. Every counsellor is aware they may not be 'right' for every client and that their approach may not suit everyone's taste or capacity to manage what is 'expected' of them.

But if you are feeling overwhelmed with thoughts and reactions, your counsellor will help you unravel them, put them to rest and to manage them through awareness and understanding, help you to develop the 'strength' to face and resolve the problems, find solutions so you feel better in the near future.

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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