What is Counselling? And why go?

WHAT IS COUNSELLING?

Counselling is a talking therapy that is focused on supporting individuals to identify problems and difficult feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential environment. The term can mean different things to different people, but in general, it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives, or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.

Contrary to popular opinion counselling is not only for when we are in dire straits or going through a traumatic time, it could be changes in work we’re struggling with, life changes e.g., moving to a new city or things just feel ‘off’ and we can’t quite figure out why.

Talking therapies help us to understand and make positive changes to our thinking, behaviour, feelings, relationships, and emotional well-being. Talking about our thoughts, feelings and issues is an important way of dealing with them.




Why is Counselling different to talking with family / friends? Our friends and family can often help us, but sometimes we may need the help of a professional therapist as they are trained to listen carefully, and they will help you to find your own answers. A professional therapist is also a safe space, one step removed from our inner circle. Therapists can offer additional insight as an outsider, and there is no fear of issues discussed being repeated among friends or family. We find people are more honest about their more difficult feelings when there is no fear of recourse i.e., their words being ‘thrown back at them’ or repeated to someone else.




WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPY?

Counselling focuses on problem solving or on learning techniques for coping with or avoiding specific problem areas. Counseling is usually more short-term than therapy e.g., a stressful project at work that we need strategies in place to manage but will end in six months.


Psychotherapy is more long-term than counseling and focuses on a broader range of issues. The underlying principle is that a person's patterns of thinking and behavior affect the way that person interacts with the world e.g., finding all projects overwhelming as the ability to manage stress in general is impaired.


Depending on the specific type of psychotherapy that is being used, the goal is to help people feel better equipped to manage stresses, understand patterns in their behavior that may interfere with reaching personal goals, have more satisfying relationships, and better regulate their thinking and emotional responses to stressful situations.




SIMILARITIES BETWEEN COUNSELLING & THERAPY

· Development of a healing, safe, and therapeutic relationship between a therapist and an individual.

· Effectiveness for a wide range of people, both adults and children.

· Understanding a person's feelings and behaviors and addressing issues with the goal of improving a person's life.



COUNSELLING FORMATS


Face-to-face / In-person

This is when you make an appointment with a counsellor or therapist to see them in person, usually at their practice. Face-to-face sessions are one of the more popular therapy formats because they provide an opportunity for you to react to any emotions that arise there and then.


Online counselling

This is where you will have sessions with a counsellor or therapist online either via phone call or video conference platforms that enable you to have sessions from the comfort of your home. This form of counselling can be particularly useful for those too busy to attend face-to-face sessions or individuals who are travelling abroad for work, living abroad as an expat or for those who live remote and not able to access services face-to-face.