What is counselling for?

I believe that people have within themselves knowledge about what they need to do to help themselves recover from whatever is the matter for them. The word recover is not perfect and does not fit everyone, but it is still true that we “recover from” an accident and most mental health problems result from direct personal experience such as traumatic events. It is true that all people can recover from mental health problems. By paying attention to what the matter is, it is usually possible to find solutions.

It is important also to have the context and the right support on the journey to recovery. Without a colleague and companion (a counsellor or therapist) it can be impossible to plot your course. Most people, if they have had a good enough start in life will be able to recover in a short period. But if a person has not developed adequate resources or if the trauma is extensive, recovery can take time.

This is why it is important to offer the choice between short term work and longer or open-ended work. You can make adjustments as you go along. For example, you might start out wanting to do a short piece of work and find you need more time.

Sometimes too, we can fight against what we know is best for us. In counselling or therapy it is possible to allow space for you to explore this and discover where the obstacles lie. Every obstacle tells us something important about ourselves. It can be helpful to some people to think of counselling and therapy as a way of discovering oneself.

When you decide to use counselling or therapy, you can ring for a first appointment. Through attending this session it can be a way to find out if you think the counsellor will be the right person for you. Try to see at least two people so you can make comparisons. This is one of the more important decisions you have to make and it is worth taking care to get it right.

Whatever the truth for each one of us, it is beneficial to take yourself seriously and give yourself time to think and talk about yourself knowing that the focus will be on you. There are regrettably few opportunities to do this in our society as a whole, but counselling is custom made for it.