What is Counselling?
Counselling in its simplest terms is the process of change. Each person at different times in their lives will find themselves experiencing problems or difficulties with which they are struggling to cope. The source of these difficulties can come from any aspect of our life including: relationships within family or in work; feelings of being stressed, anxious or depressed; experiencing grief after a loss; or dealing with past trauma(s) to mention but a few. A lot of the time these difficulties can be overcome on our own or with the assistance of those around us but sometimes this is not enough and when these difficulties persist or get worse, outside assistance can be beneficial.
How to get Started...
I offer a free, no obligation initial consultation to all clients. The purpose of this initial consultation is for you to be able to meet me in person and find out more about the counselling process. During the consultation we will discuss what is involved in the counselling process, what has brought you to want to begin counselling, the importance of confidentiality and its limits, what the process can and can't do, and any other questions you may have. If we agree to work together, we can set a date and time to commence therapy and go from there.
If you would like to book an initial consultation or would like to find out more about the counselling process, I can be contacted on 087-4518288 or by email at email@example.com. For more information, please feel free to read on below for more details of the therapeutic approach I use or take a look at the FAQ page.
I believe that each person has within them all the information and answers they need to resolve whatever struggles they are dealing with to live a full and resilient life. Each person is a unique individual with a unique life story and a unique set of conditions that has lead to them wanting to consider attending counselling. For this reason I work in a bespoke and unique way with each individual depending on their needs and what the wish to work on.
The counselling process, while tailored to each individual and their needs will usually comprise of working on the following:
Issues in the Present
Exploring the Past
Questions of Existence
Issues in the Present
In nearly all cases, people attending counselling initially wish to change behaviours that are either not working for them or working in ways they wish to change. Issues such as: relationships with others; with the self, those at work; or within the family etc. may lead to experiencing unpleasant feelings that people wish to work through. Unpleasant feelings are the barometer of knowing when our current behaviours aren’t leading to the outcomes we desire.
The present is the only place where we can change our behaviours which in turn will lead to changes in how we feel. Humans are creatures of habit and as such, identifying patterns of behaviour, understanding them and challenging them are key to changing our behaviours if needed. In each session, there will always be a focus on what is currently happening for a client and we will work towards how changes in behaviour lead to changes in how we feel.
Exploring the Past
All our current behaviour has it's beginnings in how we learned to deal with the world since birth. The picture of a therapist and client exploring a client’s past have almost become a cliche in modern times but there is an extraordinary amount to be gained from exploring our past so as to understand our patterns of behaviour in the present. We start learning how to behave from when we are born. We absorb information and copy behaviour from those who take care of us and surround us as we grow in age.
Identifying both positive as well as the not so positive or traumatic events that have happened in the past allows us to build up a picture of how we learned to deal with what the world threw at us. Both positive and negative/traumatic events in the past can greatly shape how we deal with present/future events. The key thing to remember is that while the past has shaped us, we are not chained to it or bound by it!
Exploration of our past takes time but the rewards are profound. It allows us to identify how and where patterns of behaviour arose. It allows us to come to terms with and process those experiences that were particularly traumatic and ultimately discharge the emotional impact these experiences had on us. Finally, it allows us to use our past experience to inform how we change our patterns of behaviour in the present. The objective when exploring our past is not to ruminate over what has happened, but to actively process the emotional impact of what has occurred in the past. We can then use the knowledge gained from processing past events to help inform us when making changes to behaviour in the present.
Questions of Existence
This is another facet of the personal work that can come to the fore in the counselling process. Sometimes I call them the “big questions”. Who am I? Why am I here? How did I get here? Is there a God? Who is that God to me? What happens when we die? These can be seemingly unanswerable questions that we may struggle with from time to time, however they are always worth exploring when the need arises as a lot of our anxiety in life can stem from the implications of these “big” questions. While they can be frightening to comprehend, sometimes they need to be explored and processed or they can become all-consuming. Again, like exploring the past, exploring issues surrounding existence is not an exercise in rumination but an active exploration. Ultimately this exploration will help inform our current patterns of behaviour and any changes we wish to make.
There are 168 hours in a week. If one (or maybe two) hours are spent in counselling, it leaves a significant amount of time until the next session. Therapy works best when we process what’s covered in the session. People do this in a number of different ways. For instance, taking regular time to just sit and be, without distraction and consider what was covered in the previous session or maybe to record these considerations in a journal as a means of record and physical expression. Each person processes their therapeutic work differently. The key is to find the way that works best for the individual client and incorporate regular processing space into their life as a regular practice. This allows the client to get more from each individual session and thus hopefully lead to change occurring at a faster rate than would be expected than using just the single therapeutic hour with the counsellor.