A lot of people are scared to come to counselling because they think it’s too difficult to talk with a complete stranger about things they find shameful or upsetting. It can be daunting to come to counselling, but it can be immensely rewarding.
A good counsellor will listen, be non-judgmental, empathetic, have un-conditional positive regard, be patient, is self-aware, tell the truth as they see it, be open-minded, respect your autonomy, encourage you, challenge you, be discreet, learn about your perspective, be well trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches and respect your right to privacy.
Counselling addresses the emotional needs of people. A lot of the time people tend to put their emotional needs as a last priority, if at all. However, working on underlying emotional issues and needs can benefit us in so many ways.
Clients come to counselling for two reasons:
To change long term patterns of behaviour that they can no longer tolerate.
A current set of circumstances or event has caused distress and they are struggling to cope.
Counselling is talking therapy. The work involves talking. Counselling relies on the “therapeutic alliance” or the relationship between the client and the counsellor to create a “safe emotional space” to discuss difficult things.
Counsellors work with their clients to explore circumstances and relationships so that the client may gain some insight and awareness into their role in what is happening and the role of others. Counsellors work with clients to understand how and why they are being triggered by particular relationships or events. Counsellors work with their clients to develop and practice some better ways to cope and practice self-care. Counsellors can educate clients about introducing mindfulness techniques if the client feels this would be helpful. Mindfulness techniques aim to separate ourselves from our unhelpful thoughts. The idea being that our thoughts are not reality. Only our actions are reality.
Counselling can involve more intensive emotional work that focuses on healing emotional pain and changing long term patterns that are causing their client distress. This sort of emotional work is used to address underlying, harmful self-beliefs that have started in childhood, traumatic experiences, unresolved grief or harmful coping patterns such as eating disorders or alcohol and drug misuse. Counselling can use various approaches such as emotion-focused therapy, psychodynamic therapy, schema-therapy, solution-focused therapy, narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy and art therapy. Usually it is a combination of approaches that brings about the most helpful results for the client.
The most important part of effective counselling is the therapeutic alliance. It is important that the counsellor is always checking in with the client to see how things are going and make sure they are working at the client’s pace. For example, the counsellor may questions such as:
“just now I felt like I lost you for a bit…perhaps I have said something that upset you?...can you tell me what happened?” or
“so far, we have been focusing on… however I’m wondering if this is what you really want to focus on, perhaps there is something else you would like to spend some time on?”
Using the relationship to guide the counselling work will mean a more authentic and over all helpful experience for the client.
For more information, contact us on the number below or click the PDF icon for our brochure below.
Perth Diabetes Care Counselling Brochure