What is Counselling?

Hi guys, todays post is on counselling and psychotherapy. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was one of those who hadn’t a clue what counselling was – I actually believed that it was only an American thing! I had never met a counsellor nor had I ever heard of anyone I knew going to counselling. So, I understand when I meet people who don’t fully understand the concept behind it, or what/who counselling is for.

What is Counselling and Psychotherapy?                                                                   

Counselling and psychotherapy is a talk therapy, it’s where you can talk to a professionally trained therapist in a comfortable and private setting. The therapist’s job is not to tell you what to do, criticise or judge you. They are there to listen and to guide you through a hard time. Sometimes it can be hard to talk to your friends/family about how you are feeling, this is where counselling can be used. Counselling offers you a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and anything that may be confusing, uncomfortable or painful.

It allows you to talk with someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you improve certain situations or yourself. It can be difficult to openly talk about ourselves and how we are feeling, but counselling gives you that opportunity to think/talk about your worries in a way that you may not be able to with your family or friends. Therapists are trained to help you to make the changes that you would like to make in your life, while helping to guide and empower you to do so.

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What issues can I bring to Counselling?

Now the ultimate question that is always asked, what issues can be brought to counselling?. You can bring any issue that is affecting you/your life to counselling. Some people have this idea of counselling as being only for those with mental health issues. Although counselling is widely used for mental health issues, that is not the only purpose for it. Counselling can be used for a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Marriage/relationship issues
  • Relationship break ups,
  • Building self confidence
  • Issues at home
  • Issues in work
  • Feeling lost or confused
  • Fertility issues
  • Feeling down
  • Stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Perfectionism and many more.

Other more known issues that counselling is used for are depression, anxiety, bereavement, OCD, bulimia, self-harm etc. Please don’t minimise your issue/worry that is affecting you, we can’t help the way we feel. If something no matter how small or big is affecting you, then it may be time to go and talk to a professionally trained therapist. A therapist will NEVER compare issues between clients. If an issue, no matter how small you may think it is, is affecting your life or how you are feeling, it is considered an issue that needs to be addressed in the eyes of the therapist. Nobody should have to suffer through anything alone no matter what the issue may be. The longer we leave it and try to ignore how we are feeling, the worse it can get. The first step to overcoming how your feeling, is acknowledging it. Counselling can help you do that in a save, warm and comfortable setting.

How does confidentiality work in Counselling?

Something that may hesitate individuals in seeking help through counselling, is the fear that people would find out. This is why I felt it was important to highlight the confidentiality involved in therapy. Anything that is discussed in any session is completely confidential. Meaning that nobody will ever know what was discussed during the sessions between yourself and your therapist. Therapists are trained in helping you to feel relaxed and comfortable during the counselling process. Counselling can be viewed as though you have reached your rock bottom, when matter as fact, it is actually a positive thing. It is positive because you have decided to take control of your life again by facing your issues/worries. Counselling can help you through tough times and can teach you valuable techniques that you will have forever.

It is important to highlight the limits of confidentiality involved in counselling. This involves, if you suggested to the therapist that you may be in danger to yourself or to others. Then in this case the therapist would be legally obligated to highlight this concern to a next of kin or whoever the relevant authorities may be. Now 90 percent of the time this never happens, but if it was ever the case, none of this would be done behind your back, the therapist will always try and discuss it with you first. By giving you the power to decide what the next step should be, for example who you would like them to contact. This element of counselling can be frightening for some people, but the thing to remember is, that it really would need to be an emergency for something like this to happen. So unless you actually suggest to the therapist that you are in danger to yourself or to others, then this will never happen to you.

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Another element that a lot of people are unaware of about counselling is the clinical supervisors that all therapists have. This is a professionally trained supervisor, who the therapist goes to if they feel they need assistance/guidance with a client case or if they feel they have been affected by a case. What this means is if a therapist wanted a second opinion on the direction, techniques or counselling approach that should be used, then they would go to their clinical supervisor. If this were to happen, the clients name or any information would never be used, meaning there would be no possible way of linking anything back to your identity.

The clinical supervisors are there for the therapists own well being, to help challenge the therapist and to ensure that clients are getting the best and most beneficial help needed. Supervisors are usually therapists with years of experience, who have gone on to study and train to become a clinical supervisor. This is very much a positive element to counselling, as you can be reassured that you are getting the best help that is needed for you.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got an understanding of what counselling is. The important message I want to share is for people to “not suffer alone”. It is OK to ask for help, if you feel unable to do this with your family/friends, then counselling might be the thing for you. Counselling is completely confidential and it is for ANY issue. It is a business filled with professionally trained people fully equipped to help you through a hard time. If you have any questions or wanted any information about the counselling process or services, please do not hesitate to comment below or to send me a private email. Everything sent to me will be kept confidential.

Niamh xx 

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