Words of encouragement when taking the first step

Dear reader, 

If you are reading this then you may be thinking about taking the first step into looking for counselling but might be doubting whether you should. Taking the first step can feel overwhelming, daunting and painful at the admission that you need support. 

You may have experienced an isolated incident that you are struggling to move on from or it might be less obvious and you simply have a sense that something within you just isn't right. 

Once you have decided to look into counselling, you may be asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I really need it?
  • I haven't gone through a major life-changing event, so am I 'overreacting'?
  • Maybe I just need to 'pull myself together'?
  • What will my counsellor think of me?
  • What do I say?
  • What if I say the wrong thing?
  • What if I burst into tears?
  • What if I don't like my therapist?

I can recall asking myself all of these questions and probably more and what I have discovered through my own journey in therapy as well as through my training is there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to feel. In fact, all of the above questions are probably representative of how a person would feel when embarking on anything that is new and unknown.

In terms of my practice, I aim to emotionally meet my client wherever they are in that moment providing reassurance that however you are feeling is 'normal' and accepted.

I would encourage you to discuss your fears around embarking on therapy with your therapist, ask any questions that you need to.  I know this may be anxiety-provoking but it might also give you the reassurance to continue and to start to trust that your experience will be validated and accepted.

I would also encourage you to trust your gut and remind you that if at the initial session you do not feel that your therapist can meet your needs or you don't feel a connection with them then you are not obliged to continue working with that therapist. In my opinion, much of the healing comes from the relationship between client and therapist as opposed to the modality or techniques applied.  Therefore, you feeling comfortable enough to work with the therapist is of paramount importance. 

In turn, your therapist should have your welfare at the heart of what they do and at the initial stages will be making a mutual assessment of whether they feel that they can offer you the support that you need.  Please be assured this comes from a place of respect for you and it is about making sure that you get the service that you deserve.

My wish for you is that you find a space where you can feel valued, accepted, empathised with and secure enough where you can express your vulnerability. I hope that once you accept yourself just as you are that you either feel empowered enough to consciously make changes in your life, if needed,  or that you feel a change within yourself that brings you peace or relief from pain.

I wish you well on your journey.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London, E15

Written by Katherine Coates

London, E15

My name is Katherine Coates and I am a registered BACP therapist with a BA Hons degree in Person Centred Counselling.

I have been in practice for 8 years and have expertise in working with people with substance use issues, mental health, offending behaviour, LGBTQI and people impacted by HIV.

I am believe in making therapy accessible for all.

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