What is counselling?

Many people seek out counselling because they are experiencing emotional pain that is having an effect on their day to day life and their wellbeing.

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Imagine if you had a splinter that was causing you irritation. You probably wouldn’t go rushing off to the doctor at first.

You would maybe try and remove the splinter yourself. Or you might wait and see if it would work itself out.

If it didn’t work itself out of it’s own accord or if you couldn’t remove it, you might ask someone – a friend or relative – to try and remove it for you.

Only if everything you tried didn’t work – and especially if the splinter was getting deeper and causing you pain,  then you might seek out a professional to help you.

Just like dealing with the splinter – some people are able to deal with life’s events themselves and some people have friends or acquaintances that they can sit and talk with when things get tough and this can be really helpful.

But sometimes – when we cannot deal with whatever is going on for us and people in our lives aren’t able to help (or maybe we don’t want to talk to someone we know about whatever it is that is troubling us) – then professional counselling may be a way to alleviate the pain.

Counselling is a process that falls under the term ‘talking therapy‘. During this process we will explore the issues or problems that are causing your life to not ‘work’ for you or are causing you pain, suffering or upset.

The ultimate aim is that when you finish the process, you will be in a different psychological place and will have processed what ever it was that was causing you pain or be able to cope more effectively with painful, difficult life events.

Sometimes, the hardest step is to reach out and ask for help and I never underestimate the bravery and courage of the people that I counsel.

What is a counsellor?

A counsellor is a  professional who is trained to work at therapeutic depth with their client.

I firmly believe that you know what is best for you and through counselling you can become more self-aware and understand how to be your own adviser.

In the safe, confidential environment of my purpose built counselling room, I will encourage you to talk about your problems, as I seek to understand how things are for you and together we will uncover the root of what is causing you to suffer. This could be looking at how you relate to other people in different aspects of your life. It could be you developing new skills to cope with anxiety or stress. It could be learning about any thoughts and beliefs that you have about your self which cause you shame.

Whatever you bring to counselling, you will be met with compassion, empathy and understanding.

I  feel humbled and privileged to counsel people, to be let into their lives, to tiptoe gently around their mind, to walk alongside them, to bear witness to their pain and suffering and to be trusted with their feelings.

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Will counselling work for me?

This is a common question that many people considering counselling often have and it’s one that I understand at a deep level.

Starting counselling is a commitment and a big decision to make. It is very important to me that you are getting what you need out of your sessions. You are investing your time, money and energy into a service that has no guaranteed outcome.

The answer to this question is maybe. I would love to be able to give you a definitive answer to this question, but I can’t.

What I can do is share what I know makes for effective counselling and then you can decide from there whether counselling is right for you.

One thing I do know is that engaging in counselling is more effective than not engaging in counselling! This might sound obvious, but I feel that it is important to point this out, so that if you’re wondering about whether you should try counselling, especially if you’ve never been before, then my answer is ‘Yes! Give it a go!‘.

The caveat to this is that I am biased. Please keep that in mind! Please also keep in mind that I’m not in the business of hard selling, or trying to persuade you to come to counselling!

I have spent years in therapy and I have found it to be one of the most – if not the most – life changing experiences for me.

I also love my job, and believe in its effectiveness, so of course I would say that you should try it, especially if you never have before.

It takes some people a certain amount of time to feel comfortable enough with a counsellor to start to open up, so this is something to keep in mind – that it might take a few sessions to feel ‘settled’.

The most important thing in counselling is the relationship that we build. It is important that you feel comfortable with me. So – if you leave your sessions feeling understood, seen, validated, empathised with, soothed, respected, and valued – this is a good start!

Something to bear in mind about counselling is that even when it’s going well, it can be emotionally taxing, even in the midst of insights. However, this doesnt mean that it’s not working!

This is such an important point. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s ineffective or not working. Growth isn’t painless, but when it’s done in a safe environment with a person that you trust, it’s worth it.