What Is the Aim of Counselling?
Counselling does not offer a 'quick fix', but it can help us to achieve insight and understanding about why we might be struggling with life. It is through that understanding that we can learn to change our patterns of behaviour and also come to accept ourselves more fully, enabling us to lead a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
There are several different theoretical and therapeutic approaches to counselling. But what they all have in common is a collaborative process based on the relationship between you and your counsellor. This therapeutic relationship provides you with a supportive space to help you to talk openly about your thoughts and feelings to a non-judgemental counsellor who listens closely, hears what you are saying and helps you to interpret what is going on for you. Together, you and your counsellor work to identify and change the negative thought and behaviour patterns that are making your life difficult to bear.
As the work progresses, you will begin to have unexpected and valuable insights into how you are living your life and you may be pleasantly surprised by some of the things that you start to learn about yourself. You will begin pick up and integrate into your daily life new ways of thinking and behaving that will enable you to become more resourceful and better able to cope with any future challenges that life throws at you.
Why See a Counsellor?
The idea of seeing a counsellor can feel way outside your comfort zone, leaving you feeling anxious about getting started. You may be feeling a bit of a failure for even needing to see a counsellor. But a survey by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) suggests that almost one in five of us has consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist, while almost half the population know someone who has. So you are not alone in seeking help.
People come to see a counsellor for all sorts of reasons. For some, the long-term feelings of anger, depression or anxiety are too much to bear any longer. For others, a recent crisis such as the loss of a loved-one, divorce or a recent traumatic event leads them to seek help.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to counselling. You may be feeling overwhelmed by unmanageable emotions or just feeling numbed by it all. Perhaps it’s hard to figure out what's wrong. You just know that something isn’t right. Sometimes the emotional wounds are deep and require long-term work and sometimes someone just needs short-term counselling for a particular issue or life-event that they need help navigating.
If you are experiencing any of the following, then you could probably benefit from therapy:
You are feeling overwhelmed by what life is throwing at you
You find yourself lacking in confidence, believing that everyone else is doing better than you and more able to cope with life
No matter how much you try and how much help you get from your friends and family, your problems just don’t seem to be going away
You frequently feel helpless, sad and lacking in energy
You are feeling on edge and anxious a lot of the time
You find it hard to contain your anger
You find yourself preoccupied by what is wrong with you and find it hard to see the good in yourself
You are drinking to excess and/or using drugs to the detriment of your relationships and life
It is difficult to focus on work or your everyday life
You are finding it difficult to express your emotions or engage in loving relationships with those around you
You are finding ways to harm yourself or others either physically or emotionally
You are finding it hard to recover from the loss of a loved-one and the feelings of pain aren’t diminishing