Counselling is a ‘talking therapy’ that can help people deal with the problems and issues arising out of every-day living. Clients may bring relationship issues, bereavement, stress, anxiety, developmental problems, past events that cause difficulties in the present, low self-esteem, family issues, depression, addictions, marital problems, and many other life issues.
People often come to counselling at a crisis point, feeling confused, vulnerable, and powerless. Their defence mechanisms may have become self-defeating; their coping strategies may have broken down; bottled-up feelings of anger, anxiety, fear, grief, guilt, shame, or depression may be very intense.
Understanding is an important part in the process of making changes, and unravelling the confusion helps clients to understand why they react or behave in particular ways.
Therapy may last a few sessions or continue over several weeks/months. The client’s motivation for change or resolution is important in this process.
Sessions are usually for 50 minutes on a weekly basis although this can vary. An initial assessment session offers the chance to see what the issues may be and whether the counsellor is the best person to help. Clients can ask questions about counselling, check out the counsellor, and agree a contract, including the number of sessions, followed by a review. This review session helps both counsellor and client see how things are going, after which they may agree further sessions or choose to end the therapy.
Counselling is confidential and information disclosed during sessions remains between the counsellor and client unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example if the client, or someone associated with them, is deemed to be at serious risk of abuse or self-harm. Wherever possible any disclosure that could break confidentiality would be discussed with the client and undertaken with their full knowledge and, if possible, their agreement.