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. Such as 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 move and be 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.
Resources and Links
These links are provided as a reference to other potentially helpful organisations, we are unable to recommend or endorse other organisations but we hope that you might find some valuable and interesting links to further resources and information...
National Counselling Society
We support and promote counselling and counsellors, offering a wide variety of benefits to our members and training providers. We have also created and published online CPD courses to support healthcare providers and those in public-facing roles.
British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is a professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK.
"We are BACP and we exist for one simple reason - counselling changes lives"
MIND Info Line: 0300 123 3393
Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress by:
advancing the views, needs and ambitions of people with mental health problems
challenging discrimination and promoting inclusion
influencing policy through campaigning and education
inspiring the development of quality services which reflect expressed need and diversity
achieving equal rights through campaigning and education
Trauma and dissociation links...
First Person Plural
PO Box 2537
The UK Survivor-led Association for Dissociative Survivors of Abuse & Trauma and their allies.
First Person Plural is a small UK-wide registered charity led by abuse survivors with first hand experience of complex dissociative distress. We are a membership association open to dissociative survivors, their friends, family & professional allies and anyone with an interest in dissociation who wishes to support our work. Much of our work is achieved through a mutual support model which means that members support each other with self-help tips, information etc through the medium of the newsletter and attendance at occasional open members meetings.
ESTD - European Society for Trauma and Dissociation
Aims of the ESTD:
To promote an increase in the knowledge of Trauma, Dissociation and all disorders related to chronic traumatisation.
To provide professional and public education about dissociation, trauma and trauma related disorders.
To support communication and cooperation among clinicians and other professionals in the field of dissociation and trauma.
To stimulate national and international research projects.
To provide knowledge and education specifically to those countries in Europe who do not have easy access in this field.
Janina Fisher - Psychotherapist, Consultant, Trainer
This website is devoted to the understanding and treatment of the legacy of trauma: attachment failure, neglect, physical or sexual abuse in childhood, war exposure, sexual assault, medical trauma, and domestic or community violence. It is intended for use by mental health clinicians and other healing professionals, as well as by survivors of trauma.
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute®
SPI is a professional educational organization that designs and provides the highest-level trainings and services to serve a global network of mental health practitioners, and for the public at large. Seeking to enhance human relationships, our paradigm is substantiated by interpersonal neurobiology and impelled by mindfulness applied in interactive contexts.
"Only one therapy I know of reaches as deeply into the body as it does into the mind, and by reaching for both, touches the soul ." ~ Ron Kurtz, Founder of the Hakomi Method
Clinic for Dissociative Studies
Clinic for Dissociative Studies
The Pottergate Centre for Trauma and Dissociation
26 Princes Street
01603 660029 / 633115
The Centre offers a wide range of services to professionals, to clients who may have a dissociative disorder and to the public at large. Offering a wide range of services tailored to the specific needs of individuals and professional services across the country. These include Assessments, Treatment Plans, Consultancy, Training, Court Reports and Research. In addition, we offer supervision, consultancy and support for therapists working with this client group.
RAINS - Ritual Abuse Information Network & Support
Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support is a support group and provides information for people working with child or adult survivors of ritual abuse.
They also assist survivors in accessing individual support.
Bangor University - Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice
We believe the practice of mindfulness holds the potential to have a deeply transformative impact on the lives of young people and ultimately lead to a more healthy, happy and compassionate society. Decades of research show that mindfulness is one of the most effective methods for enhancing wellbeing.
Our aspiration is to make mindfulness accessible, relevant and deeply beneficial to as many young people as possible. We believe all people have tremendous inner resources and that these resources can be consciously nourished and cultivated.
Deidre Fay - "even with the complications of trauma and PTSD meditation can help".
A website dedicated to mindfulness specifically for trauma and ptsd.
The Free Mindfulness Project
The Free Mindfulness Project has been created to develop a collection of free to download mindfulness-based exercises in a centralised location. The spirit of this project is one of openness and compassion, encouraging the sharing of resources with the wider community. The focus of this site is mindfulness as practiced in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and other closely related approaches.
Call: 116 123
RASASC - Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre
08451 221 331 or 0208 683 3311
0800 085 3330
0808 800 5000
Into the Light
Into The Light is a London based organisation that was founded in 1993.
Into the Light was established to provide a place of understanding and support to those who had experienced child sexual abuse and those that support them.
Into The Light has its roots in Christianity but exists for everyone regardless of faith, sexuality, class, nationality and culture.
Into The Light runs workshops, courses and seminars and additionally seeks to equip others (e.g. counsellors, partners) who are involved with people whose lives have been touched by sexual abuse.