What is Counselling?
Counselling is a type of talking therapy that allows a person to talk about their problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment. A counsellor is trained to listen with empathy (by putting themselves in your shoes). They can help you deal with any negative thoughts and feelings you have.
Sometimes the term “counselling” is used to refer to talking therapies in general, but counselling is also a type of therapy in its own right. Other psychological therapies include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and relationship therapy, which could be between members of a family, a couple, or work colleagues.
Talking therapies such as counselling can be used to help with many different mental health conditions, including:
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- long term illness
- relationship issues
- bereavement and loss
Counselling aims to help you deal with and overcome issues that are causing emotional pain or making you feel uncomfortable. It can provide a safe and regular space for you to talk and explore difficult feelings. The counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They won’t usually give advice, but will help you find your own insights into and understanding of your problems.
Counselling can help you:
- cope with a bereavement or relationship breakdown
- cope with redundancy or work-related stress
- explore issues such as sexual identity
- deal with issues preventing you achieving your ambitions
- deal with feelings of depression or sadness, and have a more positive outlook on life
- deal with feelings of anxiety, helping you worry less about things
- understand yourself and your problems better
- feel more confident
- develop a better understanding of other people’s points of view
Counselling can often involve talking about difficult or painful feelings and, as you begin to face them, you may feel worse in some ways. However, with the help and support of your therapist, you should gradually start to feel better.
In most cases, it takes a number of sessions before the counselling starts to make a difference, and a regular commitment is required to make the best use of the therapy.
What will happen?
During your counselling sessions, you’ll be encouraged to express your feelings and emotions. By discussing your concerns with you, the counsellor can help you gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, as well as identifying ways of finding your own solutions to problems.
It can be a great relief to share your worries and fears with someone who acknowledges your feelings and is able to help you reach a positive solution.A good counsellor will focus on you and listen without judging or criticising you. They may help you find out about how you could deal with your problems, but they shouldn’t tell you what to do.
For counselling to be effective, you need to build a trusting and safe relationship with your counsellor. If you feel that you and your counsellor aren’t getting on, or that you’re not getting the most out of your sessions, you should discuss this with them, or you can look for another counsellor.