Talking With a Counsellor
Updated: Jun 28
I remember my first session as a client and how nervous I was. As a counsellor I look forward to meeting you, I am interested in the issues that bring you to therapy and I hope that you will find me genuine, empathic and supportive.
When counselling works best
I first had personal counselling during my training as it was a course requirement. I was not ready to talk about anything very deep and decided to stop after a few sessions.
As the training progressed I was aware of areas in my life that felt stressful and uncertain. I tried therapy again and gained clarity and enough confidence to make some changes.
As time went on I took more risks and worked with difficult emotions.The bond with my counsellor helped me to feel secure and grounded. Because she did not judge me I became less judgmental towards myself. Counselling was empowering and fascinating, At times it was challenging and emotionally painful.
From a professional point of view I learnt that counselling works best when the client chooses to engage with it. Therefore when someone gets in touch with me to arrange therapy for a relative or a friend I always check that the person they are contacting me about wants to have counselling.
How many sessions?
Sometimes people ask me how many sessions they will need. They might be wondering ‘how long before I will feel better' or 'when will there be a significant change’. Others prefer to have counselling on a long term basis.
From my own point of view there is not a set number of sessions. Instead this is something for us to discuss together taking into account your needs and wishes. These can change over time and you might like to have a review to look at how you are feeling and to consider what would be most helpful for you.
Why choose counselling?
Counselling gives clients the freedom to speak openly without some of the constraints that can get in the way when talking to family and friends. It is confidential and non judgmental. Professional counsellors are interested in how things are from your point of view, they can hear about your overwhelming experiences without becoming overwhelmed themselves.
There are many reasons for choosing counselling, maybe something happened to you in the past and continues to cause you distress. You might be struggling with current issues, tangles, decisions and dilemmas or coming to terms with life changes.
The issues are not always so clear. Maybe you sense that something is wrong without being able to identify a specific problem. Perhaps you are experiencing sadness, a loss of energy and enthusiasm, anger, stuckness, restlessness, feelings of emptiness or moodiness. You might prefer to have individual counselling, or to work with your relationships as a couple or a family.
Who’s doing the talking?
Occasionally a new client asks ‘will you expect me to do all the talking?’ The answer to this question is no, although clients do tend to do more of the talking. My Person-Centred approach is relational, it involves us forming a bond and working together with the material that you bring so our conversations are two-way.
As a client there can be times when you have plenty to talk about and times when nothing seems to be very pressing. There might be so much going on for you that you do not know where to begin or how to access the underlying emotions.
We might look at what you are feeling and thinking now, or we could sit quietly together and see what emerges. In my experience something tends to present itself and whilst this may not be what matters to you the most, it is often a way into something deeper.
What is counselling like?
During the first session I am interested to hear about you and what brings you to counselling. You are very welcome to ask me questions and I will explain about confidentiality. There will be time for you to read and to discuss my client agreement form and data protection policy before signing.
During sessions you can talk about any area of your life and explore yourself and your relationships. Counselling can be deep and emotional, it can also be a relief to speak openly and honestly, to be understood without being judged.
New insights and realisations emerge, sometimes whilst we are together and sometimes between sessions. Most people gain more confidence in their own strengths and inner resources.
Sometimes the conversation is serious and then a lighter moment arises naturally. Sharing laughter can be healing and replenishing.