Maybe you’ve been to therapy or counselling before or maybe it’s too daunting to make that first appointment. Whichever of these two situations you fall into or there may be another reason, there are some things that you may or may not be aware of about counselling.
When we go to our GP we have a general idea of what to expect, same as if we are going to go to the dentist, but just the thought of counselling, and talking to a complete stranger can often be scary. Below is a list of comments made by individuals who have attended counselling in the past which may help you answer some of those questions you might have. Be mindful that after reading them, you may feel as if you really don’t want to go at all but hopefully this may not be the case.
So what are some of the things that have been shared by others who have attended counselling or psychotherapy sessions?
- Therapy can leave you feeling drained, vulnerable and raw. If this happens you have to give yourself time after the session so that you can process what was talked about and give yourself the opportunity to rejuvenate and recharge. Self-care is very important so some things you could do is maybe take a nap, have a warm bath, light some candles, maybe go for a walk.
- You might experience feelings of guilt for going to counselling because your mind tells you that your story doesn’t sound real and you might even start questioning yourself whether it is all in your head. Remind yourself that it’s okay to seek help even though your mind tells you otherwise.
- Make sure that you feel comfortable with the counsellor you choose. It’s no different to buying a pair of shoes, you’re not going to squeeze your feet into them just because they look great. The connection and relationship between yourself and your counsellor is the same. You’re not going to keep trying to have that connection because they must be good at what they do because they cost and arm and a leg, or because someone swears black and blue they are amazing. Each person is unique and so is your relationship with your counsellor. When you feel that you can trust your counsellor and you have an open relationship with them that you can share whatever is on your mind, then as the saying goes ‘the shoe fits’.
- Building the relationship with your counsellor will take time. It’s no different to any other relationship. Relationships take time and this can only happen with complete honesty and trust.
- Your counsellor is not your friend, they instead provide the objective voice to the chaos that is going on in your mind and life.
- Don’t be afraid or concerned to speak up, because your counsellor is trained to listen and understand. As part of your counsellor’s registration, they need to continue to process and continually review their skills.
- Therapy takes work and effort on your behalf. Unfortunately, the counsellor doesn’t have a magic wand or tablet that will make it all better and go away. As a counsellor, I will help and guide you through your situation, but at the end of the day, you have to do the work.
- Just like the previous point, it also takes time to not only see but feel change is happening. Again, there is no magic wand or tablet that will fix it overnight. Just like studying there is a certain amount of time and effort that you have to put into to achieve the end result. Counselling is no different. If you are not prepared to do the work and commit to it, then you can’t expect to get the results that you are wanting. Therapy is not a one session fix.
- You have to be 100% honest at all times. Your counsellor isn’t a mind reader, they can only help you with the information that you give them. This means that you can’t leave vital information out either because it can have a very different outcome with only some of the information. Of course, it’s may feel uncomfortable telling your counsellor everything, some of which might be embarrassing or shameful, but your counsellor will not judge you. If they do, not only are they not the right one for you, but they are unprofessional and are practising unethically.
- You may feel worse before you feel better. Learn and use grounding techniques so that you always have a safe place you can go to within yourself when you’re not in a good place.
- In the beginning, you might feel that it’s easier to just give up because it’s easier than going through all this heartache and pain, but stick it out because it is worth it in the long run.
- Be prepared because your counsellor will challenge you. Counselling is not just about you talking about your feelings and getting things off your chest. Counselling can be extremely painful at times, and you might feel really bad for several days whilst you reflect on what was brought to the surface, but this is the way you will heal correctly. It can be hard but just keep going as there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train.
- You may have tried a multitude of counsellors and not one fits, keep going there will be one that is the right fit for you.
- The counsellor is there for you, and the session is your time, so use it to your advantage and talk about whatever it is that you need to.
- There is no shame in attending counselling. In fact, it is actually courageous and you have every right and deserve to be there and seek the help to help you get and feel better. You are not a failure and it’s ok and perfectly acceptable.
- Although you pay your counsellor for their time, you are not alone in your journey. They actually are interested in you getting better. If your counsellor has no empathy, compassion or understanding, then you are with the wrong counsellor.
- You are unique and your issues are different to everyone else’s but they are 100% valid and deserve the same attention from your counsellor as any other individual.
- It’s crucial to have support because there are times when you will feel emotionally exhausted, crying and completely drained – don’t stop – continue because the result is worth it.
- If there is something that you want to really discuss in the session, bring it up at the start because the time can pass quickly.
- You may feel stuck sometimes and don’t know what to say in session, that is fine because your counsellor will help you through it, whether it is to continue talking and sharing or just sitting in silence for a period of time.
- The counsellor will guide you to find the answers for yourself and the time between sessions is when you will discover them, which may or may not lead you in a completely different direction that you thought you wanted or would have thought possible.
The final thing is that I can assure you is that at Soothing Minds Counselling & Psychotherapy every individual is treated with respect and compassion, no matter your situation. In my practice, I strive to provide you with a safe and confidential place where you can be heard and listened to and not judged in any manner.