Counselling: What should I expect
Hopefully as the sessions proceed, you will discover better ways of understanding yourself, or make changes to your thinking or behaviour which improve your mental and emotional well-being.
The sessions are confidential, so it gives you a chance to talk about things you might not feel at ease discussing with other people in your life.
You should expect to be listened to carefully by your counsellor. You should feel that your counsellor has enabled you to clarify your problem areas in your own terms and at your own pace.
What counselling do I need?
You may already be drawn to a particular approach and if not, there is a lot of information online about different types of therapies.
There are professional bodies and organisations which provide excellent information about them. I have listed a selection of these in my ‘useful links’ section of this site.
For me the most important thing is to find somebody with whom you feel comfortable working. So, I would suggest contacting people and having an initial discussion with them to see how you get on.
A good counsellor will always review your work together and this includes how effective your work together has been.
How long should counselling last?
There are two types of counselling offered in this regard. This will be one of the first things you talk about with your counsellor and should also be part of ongoing discussions as you work together.
Open ended counselling can last for months and sometimes years. It allows you to proceed at a pace which suits you, giving you the space and time to gain deeper insight into the causes of your concerns.
Short-term counselling can be between six to 20 weeks and is beneficial for people who cannot make a long commitment or have a specific issue to work with. Often people who have had counselling before and who want to return to work on a particular issue use this type of counselling.
What should I look for in a counsellor?
You should check that they have recognised academic qualification, they adhere to a professional code of conduct and have supervision regularly to ensure safe and ethical practice.
Before committing to working with a counsellor you need to make sure that you know:
- what their fees are
- how they handle confidentiality
- the length of their sessions
- what their counselling approach is
- their responsibilities to you
- your responsibilities to them