How do you know when it would be helpful to talk with a counsellor? Many people don’t even know what counsellors do, and what types of things we can help with.
Some of the reasons people see a counsellor include; not coping, feeling ‘stuck’ in difficult relationships with others or yourself, divorce or separation, death of a loved one, a traumatic event, parenting issues, addictions, coping with a serious illness, carer burnout, workplace distress, the list goes on...
Here are just a few of the feelings you may have which could be helped by visiting a counsellor… stress, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, confusion, resentment, shame, anger, grief, loss, depression...
What happens in a session? Our first session generally begins with a quick overview of what confidentiality means, then a check in with how you are feeling coming into the session. In a few moments, you will find you are able to begin the process of unburdening some of your problems, fears, frustrations, pressures and complications. Often, the first session uncovers some priorities and goals, which we continue to explore and finesse as the work progresses over the course of the sessions.
At ThoughtMatters, I take a caring, person-centred, empathetic approach, avoiding judgments and assumptions, and really ‘ hearing’ what you have to say, while respecting the unique perspective and individual values you may hold.
A counsellor is bound by a code of professional conduct to ensure confidentiality is maintained. This security, as well as knowing this therapeutic relationship is separate from other relationships in your life, allows you to speak freely and honestly.
Professional counselling provides a structure and framework to assist you to work through the issues that matter most to you. Professional boundaries are established to ensure you feel safe, respected and supported throughout your journey.
Your counsellor is trained to assess important safety aspects such as suicide risk, family violence or risk to children, and provide support or professional referrals to get help where it is needed.
Talking with a counsellor is very different from talking with a close friend or family member.
While talking with someone close about a problem is something we can sometimes do successfully, there are many situations or issues you may have where talking to a counsellor may be a better option.
Often, the issues and concerns that people share with their counsellor aren’t things they are comfortable to share with a friend.
While a friendship is an important part of a support team, friends have their own opinions, beliefs, prejudices and values, which may colour their advice. Friendships can have an imbalance in power, status, or reliability, which can make you feel compelled to follow their advice for fear of being judged.
Friends may also find it difficult to maintain confidentiality, or be completely honest for fear of hurting feelings and harming the friendship.
Talking with your counsellor is not like a normal two-way conversation where your friend may relate shared experiences or personal stories to make you feel less alone. It is the one-way dialogue you have with your counsellor that keeps the conversation focused on your story, your issues and your goals that ultimately helps you find your solutions.
There is a high chance you know other people who have successfully seen a counsellor about some problems or issues that worried them. Many Australians see a counsellor at some point in their life, but fewer people talk about it.
If you are reading this, and you have already been helped by seeing a counsellor, there may be opportunities in your life where you can encourage someone else to reach out and get help for themselves.
The connection you make with your counsellor - the quality of the therapeutic relationship - has been proven to be the most important factor for a positive outcome, which means you will be looking for the right ‘fit’ with your counsellor.
Remember, you don’t have to resolve your difficulties on your own. Make an appointment to speak with a skilled listener who is bound by professional ethics of confidentiality and trained to support you to get through these difficult times.
If you are facing an emotional challenge, want to improve a relationship, reduce your stress or anxiety, or get out of feeling ‘stuck’ in an overwhelming pattern, this is the time to make an appointment.
* Call for a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to see if it’s something we can work through together.
0414 99 66 13
Vanessa Steele: counsellor, mum, partner, blogger... listening and learning every day.