How can someone tell if they need counselling?
There are times in our lives when we feel 'stuck' and need to talk about a problem or difficult decision with someone other than family or friends. It can be a great relief to express the thoughts that we wouldn't dream of saying to friends or family, for fear of upsetting or worrying them.
Counselling provides a safe, quiet, confidential space to explore difficulties, distress or lack of direction with someone who will not judge you or tell you what to do. Counsellors can often reassure you that what you are feeling is 'normal'. This is often a great relief for people to hear from someone who is impartial and drawing on their professional training, knowledge and experience.
What happens in the sessions?
Counselling offers you the opportunity to explore and understand the source of your difficulties at your own pace, with time to think and reflect. Counselling involves exploring, understanding and deciding what, if anything, to do about a particular issue. Counselling helps you to look at aspects of your life, relationships and yourself which you may not have been aware of, or been able to face before.
First sessions focus on exploring the difficulties you are bringing. Sometimes hearing yourself telling your story to an attentive listener, who asks questions to gain a deeper understanding, can be very helpful. People describe a sense of relief and of feeling a 'weight has been lifted' when they can speak of matters they may have been keeping to themselves for a long time.
Sometimes a session might span your past, present and future. The counsellor helps you to make links between events and experiences in your past and your present behaviour. This linking and in-depth understanding then empowers you to consider ways in which you might want to change. You can evaluate your options and choices and decide which are best for your future well being. Coping strategies you might have developed as a child might not be serving you well as an adult.
At other times a session might focus on a 'here and now' problem, such as learning how to relax, strategies to cope with panic attacks or negative thinking. The counselling will be 'tailored' according to the issues you bring and what you need at any one session.
How many sessions will I need?
This depends on the problem. Sometimes one session is enough, sometimes a problem may take a few weekly sessions, whereas a long standing, deep-rooted problem might take several months or longer to resolve.
Who is it for?
Individuals or couples who are:
- Going through a life event or crisis e.g. redundancy, bereavement or divorce.
- Feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, confused, unhappy
- Experiencing panic attacks/flashbacks
- Experiencing relationship/parenting/stepfamily difficulties
- Wanting to explore self development/low self esteem
- Experiencing work-related problems
And for those who do not have clearly defined issues, but feel empty, lacking direction, dissatisfied or that they need to find meaning in their lives.