Counselling is classed as a ‘talking’ therapy. It works on the premise that if we create a safe, non-judgemental environment, people will feel able to talk about their inner feelings, fears and traumas more openly. For many of us friends and family are there should we need to confide in them, however we still don’t feel comfortable taking that option. Maybe:
- We don’t feel that we can completely trust our loved ones not to judge.
- We don’t want to appear ‘weak’ in admitting that we are not coping as well they think we are.
- We don’t want to tarnish the persona of a composed, strong individual that we put out to our friends and colleagues.
- We feel that our friends and family don’t have time for us, and we don’t want to impose.
- Things have gotten pretty bad, and we don’t know where to start.
Then there are some individuals who don’t have friends or family around them to turn to, or have lost touch with anyone who could offer a molecule of support. This where speaking to a stranger can help.
A counsellor offers total acceptance of you as a person with no judgement, expectations, or conditions. You can talk about how you are feeling without thinking about how you come across; that freedom can open the gate to everything we have supressed over the years, all those thoughts that you put at the back of your mind, all those feelings that were too much so you buried in a box and locked away.
By opening those boxes, in a safe, trusting environment and processing the feelings and experiences in them, allows you to let them go. Their grip on you lessens, the fear you feel when you think about them evaporates. In counselling, you are not alone; the counsellor will walk beside you as you make that journey back and look at the things that have made you the person you are today, and if needs be the counsellor will carry your feelings for you until you are ready to carry them yourself.
Counselling gives you the tools to cope with what you are feeling on a daily basis. By becoming more self-aware we are able to set boundaries better (so we are not giving away too much of ourselves emotionally), we are able to think more clearly, and understand our emotions better. In turn this allows us to be more in control of our behaviours and what we say to the people around us.
A counsellor will not tell you what to do, or give you advice on how to handle a situation; a counsellor will encourage you to talk to uncover any issues that may be the root cause of how you are feeling about yourself, and help you create an action plan to address any behaviours that may have developed as a result of your experiences.
Different forms of counselling
Counselling comes in many formats; you can choose the format that best accommodates your lifestyle and one that feels the most comfortable for you.
Face-to-Face This is when you make an appointment with a counsellor to see them in person, usually at their practice.
Video Counselling This involves talking to your counsellor through a video call through platforms such as Skype or FaceTime. You don’t need to travel to see your counsellor, this format offers more convenience, and you are not geographically restricted to counsellors in your area.
Group Counselling Going to a group counselling session can be helpful if you want to discuss your issues with people who are going through similar problems and you may even gain yourself a support network.
Telephone Counselling For some, telephone counselling offers a helpful alternative to face-to-face counselling. This involves talking to your counsellor over the phone instead of in person.
Email Counselling Some people prefer not to physically speak to a counsellor at all, emailing their counsellor instead. This form of counselling allows you to take the time to think through what you wish to discuss, and many find the act of physically writing their issues down cathartic.
What can counselling help with?
Counselling can be useful for anyone who wants to explore their thoughts and feelings, as well as any problems they are experiencing in their life. There are many things that counselling can help with including:
- Eating Disorders
- Depression and Anxiety
If you feel alone, isolated and stuck then maybe it’s time to think about talking to someone, who can give you a helping hand out of the box you are trapped in.