When people ask what I now do for a living there is a mixture of fear and intrigue when I say I am a counsellor – well that is once we are clear I don't mean the type that works for the council but the type that provides therapy !
Response ranges from not at all interested in that ‘psycho babble’ to genuine curiosity. Despite all the coverage there is now for mental health, it isn’t an easy every day conversation.
Not surprisingly given we could be talking about anything from common mental health issues such as depression or anxiety or more severe diagnosis from addictions to abuse.
Given the spectrum it can also beg the question ‘How talking about stuff can possibly make a difference?’ My response could be long, clinical and evidence based or I could simply say I suspect anyone saying this has not experienced therapeutic support for themselves.
Ask yourself how you became ‘you’ , how you learned what you know now, how your personality developed , what helped you and what you found hardest – it is most likely that talking, and being in relationship with significant people in your life had a huge part to play. The nature of those relationships , the role you ‘played’, what feels comfortable, alien or intriguing has a lot to do with both the conscious and unconscious impact of these.
Counselling is a relationship too, the difference being its singular focus is you.
Whilst there are 2 people in relationship, your therapist is there to hold your explorations and reflections and support your questions about yourself. It isn’t to add their opinion or to point to ‘neat solutions’ rather it’s to notice what is happening and help to increase awareness.
To expand exploration and support learning , growth and sometimes healing. To help you discover the path to a healthier, more resilient way of being more easily.
Friends and family are fantastic and irreplaceable in many cases however the closer you are the more entwined your patterns are likely to be and emotionally it’s so much harder to be neutral and focussed just on what’s right for you when both parties have ‘history’ and are emotionally invested .
The counselling relationship mirrors these relationships in many ways , but with neutrality, expertise and boundaries . Its non judgemental and creates a safe relational open space to explore and in my experience can add hugely to your experience of yourself and consequently your life. Its the reason its so important to work with someone who is both qualified and who you feel comfortable with.
Still Curious …. Find a therapist you want to work with and see where it takes you https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/how-to-find-a-therapist/