Counselling offers a safe time and space in which to talk, air concerns and reflect. Prompting, in the form of gentle questions, can help people look at issues in new ways and identify options for change. A counsellor is trained to ask the most appropriate questions and provide a non-judgemental environment in which to share and grow.
People come to counselling for all kinds of reasons. These may include: bereavement or divorce, stress at work or school, depression or low self-esteem or simply to find a reliable, confidential sounding board.
Many people find that they benefit from support with transition points in their lives. For example, we are often told that “life begins at forty”, but many people in their forties experience a crisis of identity and purpose that can be as profound as the one experienced by those reaching retirement. In the same way, the development from childhood to adulthood can be incredibly challenging and confusing. Every time of transition can be a time to take stock, to examine and re-evaluate ourselves and our lives.
Generally, when someone comes to counselling it is because they are experiencing uncomfortable emotions or distressing situations that are interfering or spoiling the quality of their lives.
Counselling offers support in a number of differing ways. These include:
Clarifying what is important in life
Getting in touch with inner resources
Exploring feelings, thoughts and their meanings
Support during times of crisis
Support during development and transitional periods
Working through old issues that may involve looking at childhood experiences
Reaching a resolution
I practice the ‘Person Centred Approach’ to counselling. Unlike the cognitive-behavioural approaches, the person centred model is non-directive. Rogers, the founder of this approach, set out the conditions that he regarded as necessary to initiate ‘constructive change’. These include congruence – the counsellor is genuine with the client in the relationship, unconditional positive regard – the counsellor cares for and accepts the client, and empathy – the counsellor experiences a sense of the clients world through the clients eyes.
During the counselling, I become actively involved in giving you my full attention and bring to the session helpful and appropriate responses. I adopt a non-judgemental approach, encouraging an openness and a greater understanding to develop. I assist you in identifying and clarifying areas in your life that you want to change and support you whilst these changes take place. I will help you to get more in touch with your feelings, facilitating your to tap in to and trust your own resources. My aim as a counsellor is to understand what you have experienced, help you to work through complex feelings and facilitate positive change.
Over the last twenty years there has been a steady increase in the number of people seeking the services of professional counsellors. The backgrounds of people pursuing counselling are as diverse as the emotional needs and life experiences they share with their counsellor. Counsellors appear to be fulfilling a growing need within our society as a whole.
A possible explanation for this growth is that, in the past, our community: extended family, neighbours, friends, doctors and clergy, formed a strong and reliable network of support. Over the years, these supportive communities have faded noticeably as communities diversify and change. As a result, people have been receiving less and desiring more. Counselling has evolved to meet our increasing need for emotional support and has thus become an integral part of our communities well being.