What is counselling?
The relationship between the counsellor and the client provides space for the client to explore how they feel, what they want, and to look at how they can make changes to lead a more fulfilling life. The client has an opportunity to see how their past experiences might have had an influence on their current life and have a better understanding of their own feelings and reactions.
How does it work?
Every person experiences counselling in their own, individual way. However, the basis of therapy involves the following aspects of counselling. These are the same for every client:
- Confidentiality is essential for nurturing trust. Confidentiality in counselling is strict. However, it is important to point out that all counsellors and psychotherapists who adhere to the ethical guidelines of the BACP and/or the UKCP attend supervision. This means that they meet regularly with a supervisor - a senior counsellor or psychotherapist - and talk over their work, in confidence, in order to provide the best possible service for the client.
- Counselling is being there with the client, listening and understanding as best as is possible what the client means and how they are feeling. For most people, therapy is the only time during the week that they have to think more deeply about how they feel and what they want.
- Counselling is a time and a place set aside by both counsellor and client, for the client.
Can I trust the therapist?
When choosing a counsellor or a psychotherapist, I recommend that you look for one that is a member of the BACP or UKCP. This shows that the counsellor has undergone appropriate training, that they are keeping up to date with further training and that they abide by ethical guidelines set out by these organisations.
How will I know if therapy is helping?
Each individual experiences counselling in a unique way. As a general guide:
- you know counselling is helping if you feel that the counsellor is there for you. This can take a while to establish in the relationship. It might be the first time in your life that you have experienced this.
- if you find yourself feeling more self-confident
- you begin to have healthier relationships
- you feel unburdened and you can see things more clearly
- you find new ways of coping with habits that you want to break
It is a good idea to talk to your counsellor if you are unsure whether the therapy is working. It might be that the emphasis of the work needs to change.