What is Counselling?
Lots of people ask, what is counselling? Like psychotherapy, counselling is used to describe a range of talk therapies. It's not the same as talking to a friend, as your counsellor won't usually offer you advice. They will normally help you to view your world from a fresh perspective.
Counselling takes place in a safe and supportive environment where you have the space to discuss what's troubling you. It's a place where you are listened to in a way that helps you to gain a deeper understanding of who you are and how you came to be the person that you are today.
Counselling is confidential, and it is unlike talking to family or friends; as your counsellor is not personally involved in your extended world. They are there specifically for you, and the quality of your relationship with your counsellor will determine the success of your work together. That's why it's important to get the right person for you.
Your counsellor can offer impartial empathy and will be compassionate; they will not be offended by what you say as this is usually an indicator of what is happening for you.
Benefits of Counselling
The benefits of counselling are numerous, and can depend on the reasons that you are accessing it.
You might have decided to come for counselling because you're feeling distressed and need help with a specific situation or problem you're experiencing. In which case your counsellor will help you to work through this problem through an open, honest and trusting dialogue with you.
While some people may consider starting counselling when there is a period of stress in their life or they are in crisis. It can also benefit by helping you to gain a greater insight into who you are, and the reasons that you behave in certain ways. It's like a further education, but for your emotions.
Counselling can help you to work out where you are stuck in your way of relating to others to help you to increase your awareness and change this if you feel it will benefit you. Counselling also helps you to build your confidence.
Whatever the reason that you are accessing counselling; it will work if you are willing to accept help, you have the right therapist for you, and you are open to looking at yourself honestly and in greater depth.
What is Counselling Like?
Counselling takes place on a weekly basis for 50 minute sessions. It is important that the sessions take place weekly as this is a crucial part in building and maintaining the relationship. It keeps the consistency and containment that is needed.
While there are all sorts of situations that can arise on your journey to the session; it's important to be on time as the session will always finish at the same time even if you're late.
The actual session is a place where you will explore the problems that you have accessed counselling to work through. Your counsellor will give you all of their attention and listen to you. They will ask you questions around what you've said, how you're feeling and to make sure that they've understood you. There will also be spaces for your silent reflection.
It's not like an interview or chatting to a friend; you're counsellor will not share things about themselves unless it's their professional judgement that it will help you in some way, and even then, it would be very limited information as the focus is always you. There are times where your counsellor will offer you guidance and support to help you through your experience.
There will be times in counselling where you will talk about some very difficult or painful feelings, memories or experiences. It is a confidential space (subject to ethical and legal exemptions), and your counsellor will be being supervised by another counsellor to ensure that you are getting the best out of the relationship.
As already mentioned; one of the essential ingredients to the success of your therapeutic work, is that you have the right counsellor for you. So don't be afraid to explore your options.
Lots of counsellors will give you the option of an initial meeting or consultation so that you can get to ask any questions that you might have face to face, and to get a feel of whether they're right for you. I recommend taking advantage of these. Particularly if you have come across a selection of counselling profiles that appeal to you.
With the right person the aim is to develop a relationship which is built on trust. The chances are that you'll be talking about some experiences or aspects of you that you've never shared with anyone else before. So it's good to know that the person you are going to share them with is someone that you are comfortable to be around.
Most counsellors have formal training. There are a number of different training routes into counselling; and it is advisable to look at the qualifications that the counsellor has. A counsellor in the UK will normally have trained on a 3 or 4 year degree programme, and will have had personal therapy throughout. Their qualifications and experience are often listed on their web page.
Considering your budget is also a factor, as often more experienced counsellors will charge higher rates for their services, but this isn't always the case. It is worth recognising that counselling is an investment in yourself.
Above all you will want a counsellor who will listen to you with empathy, but has the skill to help you challenge the aspects of you that aren't working. A counsellor should not be judging you, but they will help you to gain a better understanding of you and your circumstances.
The counselling relationship is place where you might choose to practice aspects of yourself in; to help you build confidence to go out into the world and be your authentic self.
Counselling in for short to medium term work. It can be from anything between 6 weeks to 6 months in duration.
What is Counselling for?
You can come to counselling for a wide variety of issues. You may be feeling anxious or depressed, or you might have some difficulties in your relationships with either your partner, friends, family, work colleagues or all of them.
It might be that you're feeling stressed at work or in life. Your relationship may have broken down or you're moving towards this. You might be experiencing a bereavement, or finding life generally just difficult to cope with.
You may want help with opening up and becoming more confident, or in managing feelings such as anger. You might be wanting to look for a different way to cope with life because you're currently using alcohol, drugs, sex, eating or gambling to help you through.
You may also want to explore your sexuality. gender or your religious belief. Or it might be that you're struggling with your cultural identity, experiencing racial issues or settling into the country.
There are a whole host of reasons that you might need counselling, and if it's your sense that it's for you, or even if you're unsure whether it is a good idea; then it's worth booking an initial appointment to explore this.
Will it Work?
The counselling experience will be different for everyone; as you're a unique individual. You success will depend on what you are hoping to gain from your experience, and the level of commitment that you give.
Whatever you choose to do and which ever counsellor you start to work with; I'd like to wish you every success in what can be a very fulfilling journey.
Nadine Wilson Psychotherapy and Counselling, Custard Factory, Birmingham, B9 4AA Call: 07857655105
Counselling, Custard Factory, Birmingham, B9 4AA. Call: 07857655105