Coming to counselling for the first time is a big step for anyone. Ironically, visiting a complete stranger to take part in a totally new kind of interaction about the things which are making you unhappy can seem like a very stressful thing to do!
Here are my thoughts on counselling.
Some things to bear in mind if you are thinking of seeing a counsellor are;
- All counsellors are different; you will get on with some better than others so be prepared try someone different if you do not feel comfortable. That is perfectly normal.
- Some counsellors are better than others just as some lawyers, doctors, teachers or mechanics are better than others. Find a good one and move on if you don't feel confident. Research shows that the quality of the counsellor is one of the most important factors which affect the outcomes of therapy. Do your research before you approach someone.
- There are different styles or approaches to counselling. Some are more systematic and directive. Others are more exploratory and client-led.
- Think about what you expect from therapy. How would you complete the sentence - "I want my counsellor to help me to....."?
- How important is this to you? Would you be prepared to commit to weekly sessions for three weeks or more.
- Sometimes just one session of counselling can put a person back on track. Most clients need longer, from six to as many as fifty sessions or more. It depends on many factors.
- When you arrive for your first appointment remember that this is for you and do not be afraid to say if you feel uncomfortable in any way. It is really important that you are honest with your therapist!
- Sometimes after a therapy session it can feel as if the worrying thoughts and feelings have been stirred up. That is normal and can be part of the healing process. Talk to your therapist if this happens as it is really important to talk about this.
- Don't expect your counsellor to 'fix' you or 'cure' you. The only person who can make the changes you need to make is you. Your counsellor is trained to support you in that process.
- Counselling does work if you are prepared to put in some effort and determination! Counselling changes lives in a positive and sometimes dramatic way! I have seen this happen.