What is counselling and how does it help?
Counselling is a way to get in touch with, and acknowledge yourself. It is an opportunity to be curious about your life, your habits and your behaviours in an open and honest environment and find a way forward that is meaningful to you. Being in the presence of another and being listened to and not judged allows tremendous opportunity for change.
There is something about sharing hurts, anger, fear and sadness with someone who is not directly involved in your situation and is not intimately or emotionally affected by sitting with your feelings and experiences that is greatly beneficial. We all have experiences of life's difficulties yet so often we do not take the time to acknowledge ourselves; to take a step back and see how our experiences, expectations and thoughts are hindering our present day. Being listened to with kindness and compassion allows deep inner healing of wounds old and new.
Counselling is not all about talking, it is about your counsellor helping you find ways to get in touch with your inner resilience, your inner calm or that inner spark that you might not even realise you have! It is about harnessing motivation and finding a way forward that is personal to you. There is no set procedure that you have to go through, rather an exploration of what could lead you out of a painful and difficult place.
To that end the counsellor may suggest the use of creative tools. For instance journaling; free-style writing can give you great insight into how things are and what you need to change. Likewise drawing and painting, such things can be done outside of your sessions and can be brought and reflected upon with your counsellor if you choose. Within the session your counsellor may use other means such as picture cards – being curious about which one(s) you are attracted to and why, can allow wonderful new insights. Sometimes a counsellor may suggest devoting a session to sand tray work if this is something you both think would be helpful? Being curious about which objects you choose to place in the sand-tray can evoke all sorts of wonderings. Looking at your choices, whether you work on depicting your life or a particular situation? How do you place those objects in relation to each other? Why you chose that particular object? How come you buried it in the sand? Does anything need to be moved and placed in a different position? This might all sound like childs play, but using creative tools can give us an insight in an instant that might take several sessions of talking.
Sessions last 50 or 60 minutes, unless agreed otherwise and usually people attend weekly. Regular and consistent sessions ensure the momentum of change. Often you’ll find changes occur during the week, in between sessions, and you’ll arrive with many thoughts and ideas of your own. Sometimes this can feel too difficult and for you the sessions create the safe space you need for change to more slowly evolve. Counselling is very individual and your experience will also be. Counselling should provide you with a sense of hope, stability and confidence. However attending can also feel scary, awkward and maybe embarrassing, sometimes even hopeless, but your counsellor will be used to all of these feelings and will create a comfortable, safe, confident environment for you to explore all of your worries.
Finding the right counsellor for you is really important and it is ok to ask questions and to talk to your counsellor about any concerns you have about how you will work together.
The ultimate aim of counselling is to enable change and allow you to find your own stability and inner resilience. For some people this takes a few session and for others it might take years of in-depth work.
Either way being committed to change holds so many wonderful possibilities!
What problems can counselling help?
Counselling can help you with all kinds of issues that are difficult for you, including:
Bereavement and loss
Compulsions and addictions
Divorce and relationship difficulties
Illness and disability
Work stress and relationship difficulties