What is Counselling?
Counselling/therapy as they are both known is a process where a trained counsellor/therapist helps an individual to explore personal problems through conversation to identify solutions. I, the counsellor will help you by exploring your thoughts, feelings and behaviours so that you can develop a better understanding of yourself, others and the world around you.
As a counsellor I will not give my opinion, advise or prescribe medication. I will help you to find your own solutions – whether that’s making effective changes in your life or finding ways of coping with your problems. It can help you to look at problems from a different perspective and introduce you to effective ways to work through them, as well as giving you the opportunity to talk to someone other than friends or family, without embarrassment or fear of upset.
Some of the benefits of counselling include improved relationships, enhanced personal insight, increased confidence and self- esteem, more effective communication, clarification of thoughts and feelings and increased assertiveness
What can counselling help with?
Counselling can help you cope with:
an upsetting physical health condition, such as infertility
a difficult life event, such as a bereavement, trauma, a relationship breakdown, financial worries or work-related stress
difficult emotions – for example, low self-esteem, low self-confidence or anger
other issues, such as sexual identity
What to expect from counselling?
You will be encouraged to talk about your feelings and emotions with me as a trained counsellor, I will listen and support you without judgement or criticism. I will not give advice or tell you what to do.
You will be helped to gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, and find your own solutions to problems.
You may be offered a single session of counselling, a short course of sessions over a few weeks or months, or a longer course that lasts for several months or years.
It can take a number of sessions before you start to see progress, but you should gradually start to feel better with the help and support of your counselling experience.
What happens in counselling?
Counselling can take place:
face to face
over the phone
online through live chat services
Most counselling takes place in planned, regular sessions which last for around 50 minutes. How often you see me as your counsellor and how many appointments you have will depend on your individual circumstances, and will be agreed between you and I, your counsellor. During a session, as your counsellor I may take you through specific exercises designed to help with your problem, or you might have more general discussions about how you're feeling. What you talk about will vary depending on what you want help with. It could include things such as your relationships, your childhood, your feelings, emotions, thoughts or behaviour, past and present life events, any situations you find difficult.
What happens in the first session?
Each counsellor has a different way of starting but generally there should be an introduction where a counsellor spends a few minutes introducing themselves and explaining how they work and sorting out basic things like where you would like to sit, and whether you use first names or are more formal.
As your counsellor I may ask you if you would like to give a history of the problems you’re experiencing. I might want you to complete some forms, or go through information I've received about you, such as a letter from your GP. Or I may just ask you to ‘tell your story’. It’s important that you feel you’ve had the opportunity to tell me as your counsellor what’s troubling you.
As your counsellor I will agree the terms, or contract with you, about how I will provide my services. This may be either a verbal agreement or a printed document for us both to sign.
This first session is important for making sure that you feel comfortable with me as your counsellor and the way I work. You don’t have to continue with me as your counsellor if you can’t relate to me or don’t feel safe.