More About CounsellingThe Counselling Relationship
All approaches to counselling emphasise the importance and quality of the counselling relationship in helping to bring about positive change. That is why it is so important that you find the counsellor who feels right for you. We may be lucky enough to have close friends and families members who we can talk to and offer support. They may wonder why you are seeking a professional who you do not know to help with difficulties. When we want to look at things differently or explore complicated, difficult to pin down feelings, it can be a great help to talk to someone outside the situation who does not already feel they know you. The clear role of the counsellor, the regularity and time boundaries of sessions free you up to work as much as you wish on your issues, without feeling guilty or uncomfortable that you talked about yourself too much. Painful and traumatic events can be difficult to discuss with those close to you, particularly if you feel that they will become distressed. As a counsellor I receive regular supervision and support and my training helps me to be empathic but not overwhelmed.
The Counselling Session and Process
A counselling session lasts for 50 minutes and usually takes place at the same day and time each week. The initial session is generally longer and lasts for up to 1 1/4 hours. It is during this first meeting that our exploration of the difficulties and issues that have brought you to counselling begins. I allow extra time to explain how my practice works, to take contact and GP details and, of course, for you to ask questions about the counselling process. We can discuss whether working together will be helpful for you towards the end of this first session or we can arrange to talk about this at another time. Some people find it helpful to have some time to reflect on their feelings and reactions to their experience of talking to a particular counsellor and to think about whether working with this person will be helpful for them.
The counselling session is a time for you to bring whatever issues, feelings or difficulties that are important to you at any particular time. Following exploratory work in early sessions, we may have agreed on a focus for continuing work or you may have decided to begin counselling in connection with a specific difficulty or concern. If we have agreed that cognitive behavioural therapy methods could be uselful, I may have suggested some specific activities that we would usually review the following week. However, in all cases, I try to allow space and flexibility for you to use the time in a way that is most helpful to your individual needs. This may, of course, include talking about your feelings about the counselling process and relationship itself. It is very important that you feel comfortable to express your feelings about these to ensure that the work we do together is helpful and appropriate
(see also FAQ section about the number of sessions involved)