What is counselling?
Counselling is not about giving advice. Counselling is essentially a talking therapy, where you will be encouraged to express your thoughts and feelings in a safe and confidential environment. Counselling helps you to understand more deeply what is bothering you and to identify your feelings and thought processes. It is about increasing self awareness and developing understanding of how we tick and how this affects our behaviour and the choices that we make in life. Counselling can provide healing for past hurts and losses. It can be a relief to let go of the pain from the past that can often hold us back in some way. It can help you to find new ways of looking at difficulties and can empower you to determine what choices you have in life and to identify anything that might be getting in the way. Counselling acknowledges that our past has an influence in determining who we are, but the emphasis is always on improving the quality of life in the present.
Why do people come for counselling?
Our clients are in trouble because they have been successfully taught that it is not acceptable to be what they truly are – (Carl Rogers)
People seek counselling for a wide variety of reasons:
- As a result of a specific incident such as a bereavement, a job loss, an accident, an illness or the end of a relationship. Such life events can often throw us off course; it feels like the rug has been taken from under our feet and we need time to process and understand what has happened and to find a way forward.
- A life transition such as leaving home, getting married, having children, children leaving home, retirement. Change is often difficult, even if it is a desired one and such life transitions can often affect us much more than we expected causing us stress and self doubt.
- An on-going issue such as anxiety, panic, depression, anger, lack of confidence, a trauma, identity issues or an addiction. Living with such difficulties can take it’s toll and it might just seem like the right time to tackle these issues.
- The problem can be hard to define but there may be a sense that something is just not right or you may be aware that you keep repeating certain patterns of behaviour but are unclear why.
A trauma can be a specific incident such as a car crash or it may be accumulative such as the result of an abusive childhood. If you are often overwhelmed by feelings and find yourself over reacting to certain situations, perhaps angrily or find certain situations very distressing it may be that you are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It does not mean that you lack self control. Trauma is the result of a normal physiological response (fight/flight or freeze mode) to a threat (perceived or real) that has not had the opportunity to be resolved. This leaves the sufferer beholden to reactions that they have little control over as the body tries to do its best to protect the individual. Grounding techniques can be useful to help the sufferer feel safer and more in control of feelings and can provide an opportunity for traumatic memories to be processed and hence have less of an effect on the individual.
A word about confidentiality
As a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) I adhere to their code of ethics. This means that I will on occasion discuss my work with my supervisor who will also treat any information confidentiality. No information will be shared with a 3rd party unless requested by the client.There may be times when it is necessary to break confidentiality, such as if there is a serious risk of harm to self or another and this will be explained at the beginning of therapy.