So, you’re looking to find out more about counselling?
Do an online search for “counselling” and “therapy” and you’ll easily find lots of definitions. In this upcoming series of posts I’m going to explain what counselling is, how it works, how to find the right therapist for you and what to expect from it.
You’ll have noticed that I’ve already used the words “counselling” AND “therapy” and that’s because some people prefer one, some prefer the other and I quite like both so you’ll see me using both!
Therapy provides a safe and confidential space for you to talk to a trained professional about your issues and concernsBritish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
Counselling and therapy are what’s known as “talking therapies” that help people to come to an understanding of themselves, the difficulties they may be facing and to find ways to resolve those difficulties.
Doesn’t that sound simple? That is the essence, but of course if that were all you needed to know, I could stop writing right now!
One thing I’ve often found, if I tell people that I’m a counsellor, is that I’m greeted with slight confusion…..
“Oh, so you help people with their problems?”
“Are you analysing me?” (the answer is always no, by the way!)
“How does that actually work?”
I’ll be answering these (and others) that maybe you have too, not only as a counsellor, but as someone who has, and continues to have counselling herself.
Let’s just get this out there though …. To go for counselling, no, you don’t need to be having some kind of breakdown! (If you feel you are, please contact your doctor first and foremost)
The reasons why people choose to come for therapy are as varied as people themselves.
- Perhaps relationships in your life aren’t as you’d like them to be.
- You might feel that you’re lurching from one messy situation or difficulty to another and wondering why.
- Maybe there are things from your past (such as abuse, trauma or having had caring responsibilities) that are still affecting you and you’d like to work out how to move on with your life.
- You might be going through something particularly difficult at the moment; redundancy, divorce, a bereavement and want somewhere safe and confidential to talk about how it’s affecting you.
- Perhaps you just want to understand yourself a bit better – why you feel the way you do and do the things you do.
As society becomes more accepting of the idea that we all need to look after our mental health, I hope that these reassure you that coming to counselling is a bit like servicing your car – regular maintenance can go some way to resolving existing problems and help prevent breakdowns in the future!
So, you’ve decided that you’re interested in counselling and great, like everything else, it’s just a couple of clicks away, right?
Well, yes. And no!
You’ll certainly find lots of counsellors out there who are REBT practitioners, who are trained in EMDR, who are Jungian analysts, who offer CBT, who are integrative / person-centred / humanistic / psychodynamic. Who work from home, who have therapy centres, who work online, who offer phone counselling, who provide short term solution focused therapy, who work long- term, who charge a lot, who offer reduced fees, who have waiting lists, who don’t. You get the picture!
How do you choose? What do these things even mean? And how can you know what to look for?
This blog series will help you to pick your way through the therapy minefield.
We’ll look at different types of counselling – what the words actually mean and how to understand the different descriptions that you’ll read on counsellors’ profiles. I will guide you through what to look for, how to look for it, what’s on offer and what to expect, ensuring that you can pick the right therapist for you
Therapy is an investment. It’s an investment of time and of money, into your emotional and mental health and for it to pay off it’s important to do your research. I’ll be linking to organisations and other sources of information about the counselling profession, such as the BACP and encouraging you to take the steps that will ensure your experience of counselling is satisfying and productive.