What is counselling?
- a place to talk about thoughts or feelings which concern us
- an opportunity to work out problems or overcome issues
- somewhere to build confidence or self-esteem
- to be able to look at oneself from a different angle or viewpoint
- somewhere to be angry, to cry, or be sad or happy
- or simply to be listened to without fear, judgement or criticism
Counselling provides a means whereby anxieties and concerns can be talked about with a trained therapist in a private and confidential setting to explore a difficulty the client is having, distress they may be experiencing or perhaps their dissatisfaction with life, or loss of a sense of direction and purpose. Counselling is always voluntary and takes place at the request of the client; Nobody can be forced to have counselling. People who have been struggling with a problem for some time or who are experiencing emotional pain and distress find that counselling can be helpful in unexpected ways. To step away from everyday life into a safe and protected space where there is time to think and process feelings with the help of a skilled practitioner, is of proven benefit.
By listening attentively and patiently the counsellor can begin to perceive the difficulties from the client's point of view and can help them to see things more clearly, possibly from a different perspective. Counselling is a way of enabling choice or empowering change or of reducing confusion. It does not involve giving advice or directing a client to take a particular course of action. Counsellors do not judge or exploit their clients in any way.
In the counselling sessions the client is free to explore any aspect of their life and feelings, talking about them freely, openly and without judgement, a way that is rarely possible with friends or family. The counsellor will encourage the expression of feelings and as a result of their training will be able to accept and reflect the client's problems without becoming burdened by them. Bottled up feelings such as anger, anxiety, grief and embarrassment can become very intense and counselling offers an opportunity to explore them, with the possibility of making them easier to understand.
Acceptance and respect for the client are essentials for a counsellor and, as the relationship develops, so too does trust between the counsellor and client, enabling the client to look at many aspects of their life, their relationships and themselves which they may not have considered or been able to face before.