Everyone faces challenges at some point of their lives. Some people don’t seek help as they can’t see that they have the solutions to their issues within themselves. Some believe that counselling is only for people who are ‘crazy’. Others think that their problems are not important enough, while some believe that just talking can’t do any good. And some people are concerned about what others might think of them if they were to seek help. They worry about appearing weak and so they just try to ‘get over it’.
'Making a big life change is pretty scary. But you know what's even scarier?
I see seeking help as sign of strength, bravery and courage; however I acknowledge how difficult it can be to make that first move and face your problems. Some people might need a little bit of help to uncover their strengths. And so they choose to seek counselling.
'When we seek help, people are there to help. But you have to take the first step and ask for it.’
– Angie Ridings
Counselling is known as a talking therapy. It is simply about you talking freely to another person in a confidential environment about your difficulties, about what is troubling you and what you’re going through. Seeking counselling can help you find answers to those questions that you might have been asking yourself for a really long time:
- Who am I?
- Why am I feeling so unhappy?
- Why am I struggling?
- Why am I feeling stuck in my own life?
- How do I move on with my life?
- How do I deal with my past?
- Why is life so difficult for me but easy for others?
- Why is it so important to me to be liked by others?
- Why do I find it so difficult to build relationships?
- Why do I always do what others want me to do?
People come to counselling to come to terms with their problems and they seek help because they want to find better ways of coping. They want to explore their feelings and make changes in how they feel. They want to improve their relationships with themselves and others. They want to figure out who they are and they want to understand what is going on inside them. They want to make sense of their life experiences, accept the things that have happened and move on with their lives. And that can be scary and overwhelming. But you do not have to be alone in this.
Counselling is a collaborative approach between client and counsellor. The counsellor is not to give you advice or tell you what to do, unlike people you know. The counsellor will help you find your own insights into your problems, help you understand them and help you work through them. He or she will listen to you, will help you connect with your feelings and explore them. The counsellor will help you gain a better understanding of your current and past difficulties, which will help you increase your self – awareness. You will understand yourself more and understand better how things are for you.
Sometimes we struggle with things in the present because of something that happened in our past. The counsellor will help you become aware of what links past to present and will help you understand these links. He or she will help you understand how long – past events can influence your adult behaviour and feelings. They can have huge impact on who you are, your way of thinking, your patterns of behaviour and your relationship with yourself and others.
Life brings no guarantees, and equally there are no guarantees in counselling. No counsellor can give you a guarantee of success; however, a good counsellor will promise that they will try their best to make your counselling experience a successful one.
In order for your counselling experience to be a successful one you need to find a counsellor that you feel comfortable with. The more comfortable you feel with your counsellor, the more effective your therapy will be. When you meet your counsellor for the first time asks yourself:
- Will I feel comfortable talking to this person about very personal things?
- Will I be able to be honest and open with this person?
- Does this person make me feel relaxed?
- Is this the person who I think will listen to me and will genuinely try to understand me?
- Do I like this person?
- Do I think that this person could help me?
We don’t like everyone we meet. Sometimes it takes time to get comfortable with someone and we have to spend more time with them. It is unlikely that every therapist will be a good fit for each person that comes into his or her office.
If after your first session with your counsellor you feel that that this is not the right person for you, you may consider finding a new one. It is crucial to remember that you have the choice to seek out another counsellor. But please bear in mind that the first couple of visits to a counsellor are usually spent getting comfortable, so give your counsellor a fair chance.