What Does a Counsellor Do?
Counsellors help people to explore feelings and emotions that are often related to their experiences. This allows clients to reflect on what is happening to them and consider alternative ways of doing things.
Counsellors work in a confidential setting and listen attentively to their clients. They offer them the time, empathy and respect they need to express their feelings and perhaps understand themselves from a different perspective.
The aim is to reduce a client's confusion and enable them to cope with challenges, or to make positive changes in their life where necessary. Counsellors do not give advice, but help clients to make their own choices within the framework of an agreed counselling contract.
There is no clear distinction between the terms counselling and psychotherapy, and both can encompass a range of talking therapies.
Why people choose to have therapy
Usually individuals choose to have therapy because they are experiencing difficulties and distress in their lives. Sometimes people can be isolated but at other times, even where an individual has the most supportive family and friends, they can find it difficult if not impossible to explain why, for example, they may be feeling anxious and or depressed. Or it may be easier to talk about personal, family, or relationship issues with a person who is independent of friends and family. Other life issues and events which can be very difficult to deal with include bereavement, divorce, redundancy, health issues, bullying and so on. However, you do not have to be in crisis or on the verge of one, before choosing to have therapy.
You may be experiencing underlying feelings of dissatisfaction with life in general, or be seeking balance in your life and spirituality. All of these reasons and more will bring individuals to therapy
What is therapy?
Therapy is time set aside by you and the therapist to look at what has brought you to therapy. This might include talking about life events, (past and present), feelings, emotions, relationships and ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour. The therapist will do their best to help you to look at your issues, and to identify the right course of action for you, either to help you resolve your difficulties or help you find ways of coping.
Talking about these things may take time, and will not necessarily all be included in one session. The number of sessions offered may be limited, and so it is best to ask about this in advance.
Practitioners who provide this treatment include:
I started having sessions with Laura 8 months ago. I felt that I had no reasons to feel unhappy but each day was becoming harder and I really wasn't enjoying my life. A lot of things had happened in my past and childhood and although I had reached a 'stable' part of my life I was still unhappy and the past was affecting me. I decided something had to change so I made an appointment with Laura. I was nervous beforehand but I immediately felt comfortable and she is easy to talk to. I never felt judged, ashamed or silly of what I was telling her. It can be an upsetting process but I would always wake up the next day feeling lighter and better able to cope.
As the months have passed I am now much better at dealing with any bad things happening and can pick myself up and make sense of things much quicker. I am now in a place where I rarely have a bad day, just the odd moment and I realise it's okay to be happy and laugh.