Counselling is a type of talking therapy that allows a person to talk about their problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment.
A counsellor is trained to listen with empathy (by putting themselves in your shoes). They can help you deal with any negative thoughts and feelings that you have.
Sometimes, the term 'counselling' is used to refer to talking therapies in general, but counselling is also a specific type of therapy in its own right.
What is counselling used for?
Talking therapies, such as counselling, can be used to treat many different health conditions including:
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Long-term illnesses
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia
- Drug misuse
How can counselling help?
Counselling aims to help you deal with and overcome issues that are causing pain or making you feel uncomfortable.
It can provide a safe and regular space for you to talk and explore difficult feelings. The counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They will not usually give advice, but will help you to find your own insight and understanding of your problems.
Counselling can help you to:
- Cope with a bereavement or relationship breakdown
- Cope with redundancy or work-related stress
- Explore issues such as sexual identity
- Deal with issues that are preventing you from achieving your ambitions
- Deal with feelings of depression or sadness, and have a more positive outlook on life
- Understand yourself and your problems better
- Feel more confident
- Develop a better understanding of other people's points of view
Counselling can often involve talking about difficult or painful feelings and, as you begin to face them, you may feel worse in some ways. However, with the help and support of your therapist, you should gradually start to feel better.
In most cases, it takes a number of sessions before the counselling starts to make a difference, and a regular commitment is required to make the best use of the therapy.
What to expect from counselling
During your counselling sessions, you will be encouraged to express your feelings and emotions freely. By discussing your concerns with you, the counsellor can help you to gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, as well as identifying ways of finding your own solutions to problems.
The counsellor may encourage you to identify issues and, if appropriate, take personal responsibility for them. They will be able to help you recognise the effects of other people and their actions, and explore alternative ways of coping with them.
It can be a great relief to share your worries and fears with someone who acknowledges your feelings and is able to help you reach a positive solution.
Trusting your counsellor
A good counsellor will focus on you and listen without judging or criticising you. They may help you find out about how you could deal with your problems, but they should not tell you what to do.
For counselling to be effective, you need to build a trusting and safe relationship with your counsellor. If you feel that you and your counsellor are not getting on, or that you are not getting the most out of your sessions, you should discuss this with your counsellor.
If the situation does not improve, or your counsellor is dismissive or unwilling to discuss the issue, it is perfectly acceptable to look for another counsellor with whom you feel more comfortable.
If you are seeing an NHS counsellor who is attached to your GP surgery, your GP may be able to arrange for you to see another NHS counsellor. Alternatively, you could pay to see a private counsellor.
Who provides psychological therapies?
As counselling involves talking about sensitive issues and revealing personal thoughts and feelings, your counsellor should be experienced and professionally qualified.
Different healthcare professionals may be trained in counselling or qualified to provide psychological therapies. These include:
- Counsellors – trained to provide counselling to help you cope better with your life and any issues you have
- Clinical and counselling psychologists – healthcare professionals who specialise in assessing and treating mental health conditions using evidence-based psychological therapies
- Psychiatrists – qualified medical doctors who have received further training in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions
- Psychotherapists – similar to counsellors, but have usually received more extensive training; they are also often qualified psychologists or cognitive psychiatrists
- Behavioural psychotherapists – may come from a variety of professional backgrounds, and have received specific training in cognitive behaviour therapy; they should be registered and accredited with the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
Many different types of counselling are available in a range of formats. For example, counselling can take place:
- Individually or in a group
- Over the phone
- By email
- Using a specialised computer program
You may be offered counselling as a single session, as a short course of sessions over a few weeks or months, or as a longer course that lasts for several months or years.
KGPS | milton keynes
At Katherine Goodsell Psychological Services we offer private, professional, affordable counselling for adults and children in Milton Keynes.
Call us now on 01908 766543 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.