Counselling can be a daunting step to take, for some people it is like admitting defeat and that brings a lot of shame, making it difficult to take the first steps. It can be quiet scary as therapy is often associated with Freud, couches and men in white coats or bean bags and hippies! Those images are not true anymore; counsellors are professionals, well trained and just like you and me. They just want to help by listening and being empathic and I can assure you that nothing is too much for a counsellor to hear.
Counselling can help you deal with many issues but some key ones are –
• Addictions – alcohol, drugs and food
• Abuse – physical, sexual or emotional
• Relationships – family, partners or work
• Self harm
That list is not exhaustive but gives you an idea of the breath of issues counsellors can deal with. Even if you have a vague feeling that something is wrong in your life, counselling can help you find out what that maybe and how you can deal with it.
If you have come to that point in life where counselling is a way forward, it’s always worth doing a little research as there are so many theories and practices a available now. It also depends on the depth of therapy you feel you can undertake; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) will change your thought patterns about certain issues, changing how you deal with those thoughts. Psychotherapy works by talking through at depth issues and their origins. There are other theories called humanistic therapy where the counsellor is a facilitator for the client to find their own solutions e.g. person centred. All of theories are now moving towards the relationship you have with your counsellor being as important as the theory followed and there is now a strand of counselling known as relational counselling which is all about that relationship.
Counselling works on the premise that everyone has the right to be ‘ok’, that you can control your own destiny, the past does not control the future and that you hold the answers even if they are hidden deep inside.
Counselling will often make you face up to difficult and painful feelings, things in the past you have buried and maybe things you feel ashamed about. You may even feel worse for a time but your counsellor will be with you all the way to support you and you will then feel better. In most cases you will need a few sessions for improvement to take place, the longer you have had the issues the deeper the issue will be buried, so a commitment of some time is needed for counselling to work .
Counsellors will encourage you to share your feelings and emotions, they will listen and be empathic, there will be no judgement or shaming, they may help to name an emotion or help you find the cause of the feelings. They may identify issues you were not aware of and even challenge you if you remain in denial of your part in events in your life. But everything you say will remain confidential, this helps build trust and form a caring and healing relationship.
Counselling is most effective face to face, as a counsellor will use your expression, reactions and body language to help them identify what is happening for you. However phone counselling can be used with counsellors who will use your voice tone to help them identify emotions and feelings; online email counselling is an option but is not as effective as a connection is very difficult when using the written word.