Understanding counselling

Counselling is often misunderstood to mean advice giving or steering in the ‘right direction’ (as perceived by the person giving the advice).  Various vital services use ‘counselling’ in their title, for instance debt counselling, bereavement counselling, drug and alcohol abuse counselling and all have an important place in our country’s support networks.  But I would like to explain what I mean by counselling or ‘therapeutic counselling’

  • Counselling aims to help you deal with and overcome issues that are causing pain or making you feel uncomfortable.  The counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. he or she will not usually give advice, but will help you to find your own insight and understanding of your problems.
  • Counselling is a process that enables a person with a particular need (we’ll call them a client!) and a professional counsellor to meet together to explore the concerns and difficulties of the client.
  • Counselling can provide a safe and regular space to talk and explore difficult feelings. And can help the client to see things more clearly, possibly from a different view-point and can enable them to  them to achieve their desired changes.
  • Counselling depends upon a relationship of trust between counsellor and client with respect, empathy and confidentially at the heart of this relationship

Just to be clear, Counselling is NOT: Giving advice, judging, sorting out problems, having an emotional involvement between counsellor and client.

Why come to counselling?

Often the reason that people seek counselling is because they are experiencing some kind of difficulty or distress. Some may feel a bit isolated or alone but they may well have supportive family and friends, but just find it difficult to talk to them.  Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone who is not connected with them or their circle, who doesn’t know them and who can hear them in a more objective way especially when personal, family or relationships are involved.

What sort of issues might bring someone to seek therapy?

Life issues: change, depression, sadness, anxiety, bereavement, health, redundancy, breakdown in relationships, bullying, stresses
Non-crisis issues: feeling generally dissatisfied, a bit stuck, feeling life is out of balance

How long does counselling take?

In most cases, it takes a number of sessions before the counselling starts to make a difference, and a regular commitment is required to make the best use of the therapy.