Counselling: what to expect
When approaching therapy a lot of things might go through your mind, below are 10 examples of just some of the things that counsellors take into consideration
1. You will most likely be nervous at your first session
This is almost a given. Going to see a counsellor can be a daunting process. You are being asked to visit a complete stranger and start to talk about your deepest and most private concerns, straight off the bat! It is no wonder you feel the way you do. Most therapists take this into consideration and do their best to make you feel at home.
2. This may be the very first time you have spoken to anyone about your situation or how you feel
Counsellors are very aware that people’s problems are usually extremely private. You may have felt the way you do for a long time and feel that you are taking a huge risk in disclosing your story to another person but don’t forget, your confidentiality is paramount and therapists are usually very experienced in helping you to feel safe enough to talk freely.
3. You may even be wondering if your problems are important enough for counselling
You will not be the first person to think this, a lot of people who come to therapy wonder if their problems are in some ways serious enough for the counselling process. They imagine others are far more deserving than themselves. You may even be questioning if you are wasting your counsellor’s time! You will never be wasting their time. The majority of therapists are interested only in helping you to find ways of alleviating your distress and enabling you to feel better.
4. You are probably not a trained counsellor
This is why most therapists will talk to you about the process at the very beginning. They will speak to you in a way that is easy to understand and be very clear about what counselling is all about. They will also be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the process.
5. Counselling is not something you have just decided to do
More than likely you will have been asking yourself when is the right time to have therapy for a considerable length of time. You may have decided to call a counsellor and then changed your mind. You might have discussed it with your partner, doctor or a close friend. You might very well be worried that to go and see a counsellor would be to finally admit that there is something truly wrong with you (which is usually not the case). Whatever your reasons for deciding to seek therapy, counsellors are very aware of just how long it may have taken for you to get there.
6. You may be concerned about what your counsellor thinks of you
Often clients are worried about just what their therapist thinks of them. Do they think they’re mad? Or gone wrong in some way. The good news is, more often than not, they are more concerned with doing their best to try and work out just how they can help you. Most counsellors have seen many clients and not once considered any of them in anything short of the highest regard, particularly for their courage in choosing to seek counselling.
7. You might be wondering if therapy will cure you or not
Counsellors are generally aware that people approach therapy quite often looking for a kind of treatment. It is the very reason that they are very open about the process right from the first session. Therapy is not something that is done to you so to speak; it is more like something you have. It is about exploring alternatives, questioning patterns of thinking and behaving and finding new ways of seeing things.
There has been tons of research to support evidence that talking therapies can be extremely effective in helping people to find satisfactory ways of helping them to heal themselves. Counsellors are aware that people don’t know this. It is why they do their best to help you and support you all the way.
8. Counselling is expensive and you are quite possibly stretching your budget to afford it
Unfortunately, therapy is not cheap. Counsellors take this into consideration and will never keep you in therapy longer than you need to be. At the very same time, they often won’t tell you that you’ve had enough (they’re confusing like that). They will usually help you to review your progress and determine this for yourself. They are quite aware that the best expert in the room in deciding how long to stay in therapy is you.
9. Your problems are often not something that can just be washed away
A good counsellor will be very aware of this. They will appreciate just how bad you can feel at times and do their best to see things, not as they imagine them to be, but as much as possible, from the perspective of how you see them. They will clarify with you when they feel they’ve got this wrong, and they will sit with you and listen until you feel they’ve got it right.
10. This is enormously important to you
And finally, perhaps more than in any other profession, counsellors are in the privileged position of engaging in a relationship with a person who has come to them looking for help in changing their life. For the great majority of therapists there is an awareness of just how important this is for you and just what it represents. It is the very reason why they do the job they do.
So, if you’re thinking of having therapy and in the process of making that decision, then it may be useful to consider the above. Counsellors are there to help you, not to judge you or make you feel intimidated. We are there to make you feel welcome and accepted and to help you to move on.