In order to understand what counselling is, it’s important to understand some things that it isn’t. It’s not about being given advice. It’s not being told what to do. It’s not about someone giving you answers to problems.
Perhaps the most important aspect of counselling is that it’s about being listened to, without judgement or expectation. Family and friends can listen, but you might be fearful of hurting their feelings or feel scared of what their reactions might be. As a counsellor I keep a firm boundary in our relationship; we meet for counselling and counselling only, so that the focus can remain purely on your needs.
Counselling provides a therapeutic opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings and to find your own solutions to any difficulties you identify. My role as counsellor is to be alongside you, encouraging you to take alternative views on situations and to consider making positive changes. Essentially, my role is about helping you to recognise your own power and to find ways to live your life as well as you possibly can.
Counselling can be a difficult process. You may want to talk about painful experiences or deep-rooted fears. You might feel embarrassed about sharing private thoughts or fear the consequences of talking openly. My role is to support you in taking the risk of sharing and to help you to take care of yourself.
Ultimately, counselling can be a joy. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person, finding possible solutions to long-standing difficulties and – perhaps most importantly – learning about yourself, can be liberating, invigorating, exciting and empowering.