What is Counselling

Many people choose to talk to a counsellor at various periods in their lives.

But what is counselling ?

At its simplest Counselling involves talking to a trained and skilled professional in a way that helps you to help yourself.

Counselling is helpful for a range of problems and is an intervention of proven effectiveness that takes place in a comfortable, private, environment where you can talk freely.

It is an excellent early intervention when things start to go wrong. It is often a way of asking for some help for yourself. It involves talking to an independent person who won’t judge you, and allows you to take things at your own pace. You only tell the counsellor what you want, when you want (Rather than being asked lots of questions).

Counsellors don’t usually give advice, rather they try and help people to find their own answers to their own problems. Counsellors try and build a good relationship with their clients right from the beginning. They are known for being understanding, approachable and caring. They are really good listeners, but they don’t just sit in silence and expect you to do all of the talking! Nor do they ask lots and lots of intrusive questions. Counselling usually involves a person talking about their own life and problems with someone (the counsellor) who will listen carefully, wont judge, or tell anyone else what’s been discussed –unless of course someone is at risk of significant harm. Counselling is effective for all sorts of problems and can be accessed in a variety of settings”

What are some of the purposes of counselling?

Some of the purposes are to:

  • Understand yourself better.
  • Feel Better About yourself.
  • Identify specific problems.
  • Identify a direction or a goal that you want work on.
  • Understand and cope with difficult emotions
  • provide time and space to understand the dynamics of your relationships.
  • Make changes in your life.

Why have counselling?

•              Counselling can provide you with an opportunity to talk and think things through.

•              It is a chance for you reflect and understand more about yourself. It may allow you the time to consider what and why you do things.

•              Often there are occasions when we don’t want to burden our loved ones with what we are experiencing.

•              Sometimes ‘two heads are better than one’, when thinking through problems

•              It can be about thinking through options and making choices for oneself

•              It can be about changing something that doesn’t work.

Some examples of why we may choose counselling

Not Feeling ‘ok’

Sometimes we may feel that ‘we’, or things that we think about, are just ‘wrong’. Just not ‘Ok’.

Talking this through with a counsellor may help us change the way we view ‘Feeling happy’, confident, being accepted by ourselves or being accepted by others, and how we might achieve change

Coping with Change

Sometimes it can be difficult to cope with change.

Many of life’s changes are unexpected or not to our liking. Like:

  • When someone is very ill or dies
  • There are problems with school college university home or work
  • When your being bullied
  • When the family is splitting up
  • When a new family is getting together
  • Births and fertility
  • Transitions (like moving house, school, university, work or retirement)

Talking things through with a counsellor may help keep things in perspective. It can help you realise that change is normal; and that nothing stays the same forever, but we can learn to adapt to it and sometimes choose how we cope with it.

Dealing with Emotions and Behaviour

People often think counselling is all about talking about your feelings. Whilst it can be it doesn’t always need to be.

Having said that, lots of people find it very helpful to explore their emotions in counselling. As emotions can sometimes take over our behaviour. Learning to experience, become aware of, name and then acknowledge or control our emotions can lead to a change in our behaviour.

Examples of emotions and behaviour may include: anger, stress, mental health problems, sadness and depression, self-harm, and not achieving goals

Using a counsellor to understand your emotions and behaviour can often be a really good way to manage them. Sometimes just understanding our feelings actually helps control your moods.

Having no ‘safe place’ to talk or think

Often people don’t want to talk things through with someone they know, as the issue may involve that person or someone that person knows.

At other times people don’t want to burden loved ones or others with their issue.

And sometimes people don’t want to discuss their issue with others as they fear this may lead to gossip or impact their relationship with those people.

Outcome Measurement Tools

Counsellors usually ask clients to fill in some forms:

  • Before they start counselling
  • At fixed intervals (Sometimes at every session or say every 6 sessions)
  • After they finish all of their sessions

 These are to monitor the work that the counsellor and client do together. The questionnaires are called outcome measurement tools. These forms are used to check how the counselling is going and what changes are occurring.

They are normally a series of questions asking how the client has been doing over recent days and weeks and often ask about how they’ve been feeling recently. They are usually not difficult to answer, and are mostly just ticks in boxes.

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