Can counselling help me?
When you think about the words Counselling or Counsellor, what does that bring up for you?
- The old-fashioned view of Freud with his couch?
- A professional with spectacles resting precariously on the tip of their nose?
- A lot of personal questions about childhood and blaming your parents?
- A stranger pretending to be an expert about you?
- An over-priced skill?
- A load of old tosh- what use is talking?
Any of this sound familiar to you or ringing some bells in the imagination?
- We tend to not use couches; things have moved on and we use comfy arm chairs;
- Some of us do wear glasses but we try extremely hard to not come across as aloof, authoritarian or assume we are better than you because of our profession, we follow strict guidelines to ensure we practice ethically;
- Sometimes the issue may be about childhood experiences and sometimes it may be about parents, but the crux of the matter is that the sessions are about you, your responses, your functionality and how we can get you to a place where you feel your issues are controllable, sometimes relinquished and where you generally feel better about the things that brought you to counselling in the first place;
- You are the greatest expert about you. We listen to your story, we watch your body language and expressions, we listen to what you don’t stay, we help you untangle your story, we challenge you and we help you explore in safe ways.
- The cost of a session takes a lot of thought; Counsellors train for 2 to 3 years depending on the course so much like for any self-employed person the hourly rate is a reflection of the effort that goes in to the work, the cost of holding a session, rates that get taken out of the hourly rate such as VAT, room rental, national insurance, subscription costs and also trying to be aimed at being as affordable as possible.
- Communication barriers with yourself and other people are often the greatest cause of unease, discomfort, anguish and fear. It isn’t just about talking, it’s about talking in a different way that you might do with your friends, family or colleagues. It’s about answering questions you may never have thought about, it’s about understanding how past or current experiences may be limiting your future, it’s about exploring fears and rigidly held beliefs. A Counsellor can help you explore thoughts, feelings and behaviours in ways that a regular support network cannot.
People talk about making the phone call or sending the email as being the first step to accepting you need some support; I feel that is only part of it:
How do I know if I am ready for counselling?
- I haven’t felt like ‘myself’ or ‘normal’ for a few months
- I have no motivation or desire for the things I used to enjoy
- I’m in a repetitive cycle that brings me no joy
- I’m aware of issues that are threatening my life
- I’m aware that I’m not functioning properly
- I want to make changes but I’m struggling to do so
- I don’t like my life and my future looks bleak
- I self-harm and don’t understand why and want to stop
- I self-harm and do understand why and want to stop
- My behaviours are upsetting me and/or people around me
- I try to talk to friends/ family but I feel like a burden or they do not listen
- I don’t feel in control of my own life
- I feel fearful
- I have repetitive thoughts/behaviours that affect my daily life
- I don’t have a supportive network and I feel alone
- I can see I have some problems that are holding me back
- I want to end my life or think about doing so quite often
What happens in a first session?
I’ll take you through a counselling contract and additional policies to ensure that you understand the terms and conditions thoroughly. If you accept the terms then you need to sign the contract and provide some additional contact details. The session runs for 50 minutes each time you decide to see me.
The first session is fact-finding and picture-building; I need to understand your context, what’s brought you to see me/ talk with me? What is particularly troubling you right now? I’ll put a mental picture together and we’ll talk through what you’ve said in order for me to clarify any points. It’s not easy sometimes, there may be tears, a sense of relief, laughter, realisations or a numbness. It is different for everyone. You may be honest enough to admit you aren’t sure what you are going to get out of it or if you can open up about your concerns.
That is OK. Like anything, it takes a few tries to see if you can be comfortable discussing uncomfortable things. You also not be ready yet and equally we may not be the right fit for each other- it is only through trying that you will find this out. I will be honest about if I can support you with my skill set and indeed if we can work together; I thoroughly encourage all my clients to explore how they feel towards working with me and usually we can tell this within the first session.
Counselling will not work if:
- You attend because someone has forced you to attend and you do not want to be there
- If you do not gel with your counsellor
- If you cannot open up yet
- If you feel there is nothing wrong or do not accept that there is something wrong
- If you do not attend sessions when you have arranged them
There isn’t an exhaustive list to offer you because each person is very different. I can highlight that the desire to want to change an aspect of your life is a good starting point, whether it’s for personal development or to explore something that you feel is deeply wrong for you. I offer a supportive space and sessions can go at your pace. You have the control.