What is Counselling?

What is it?

Counselling is a talking therapy, which is sometimes referred to as psychotherapy.

It is an arrangement between a counsellor and client, who meet regularly with a focus on the client’s emotional and psychological concerns.  Public and voluntary sector counselling services may be limited, due to funding availability and waiting lists.  Some individuals can afford private therapy, which, consequently can span several years.

Why do we need Counselling?

We do not necessarily need counselling, but research shows that it helps.  People seek counselling, when unwanted thoughts and feelings, interfere with everyday functioning.  When individuals feel unable to reveal their feelings to the people closest to them, they often find it useful to speak to an impartial person.  It can be difficult to find someone to talk to who is skilled in active listening and who refrains from offering the kind of advice, which may not be suitable.

.  Individuals can be affected by;

  • Feelings of worthlessness, anxiety and/or depression
  • relationship difficulties
  • a specific event such as a loss or bereavement
  • stress in the workplace
  • physical illness.

Being the Change

Counsellors are not immune to life’s struggles.  An effective counsellor, is not one who appears to be perfect or claims to have all the answers.  I am concerned about anyone who makes such a claim.  Conversely; the counsellor who is self-aware, comfortably allows themselves to be seen, as a fallible human being and is likely to inspire self-acceptance in the client.

The Proof of the Pudding

Counsellors attend therapy as part of their training, and throughout their careers.  This helps them to work through their own difficulties, and similarly, offers the opportunity to experience sitting in the client’s chair.


A Two-Way Process

Successful counselling is a collaborative process which requires input from both client and counsellor.  Each therapeutic relationship, is as unique as the individuals who are in it and for this reason; it may take time to find a counsellor, with whom you feel compatible.  Each will have their own theoretical approach and intervention methods, however, they should not force you to talk about or try anything you are not comfortable with.

A trustworthy counsellor; who has undertaken the necessary academic training, will of course, be very knowledgeable.   This can feel intimidating to a new client. I believe, that an effective counsellor does not use their position, to undermine the client’s autonomy, but acknowledges the client as the expert in their own lives.

What to Expect

You are likely to be feeling a little nervous at first, and you might be worrying about what to expect.  It helps to remember that these feelings are understandable in any new situation.

I believe that a good enough counsellor will invite you to discuss these concerns during the first session.  It is the counsellor’s responsibility to foster and maintain a supportive relationship, and to avoid destructive criticism, or defensive behaviours.

As you begin to feel safe enough to be yourself, in the company of your counsellor, I believe you can start to achieve greater self- acceptance, along with a renewed trust in your abilities.  I also believe you will achieve greater resilience.

Is it For Me?

Counselling raises uncomfortable questions, feelings and memories.  Working through these issues, can help you to find acceptance.  This in turn, can improve the quality of your day-to-day life and close relationships.

Conversely, you may discard some behaviours, attitudes and relationships which no longer benefit you.  Change and loss can be difficult, yet these experiences are often a necessary part of self-development.

If you would like to discuss therapy options with me then please contact me.