Thursday 19 September 2019

Counselling is of value to everybody

Dr Michelle Cooper. Photo Eye Focus
Dr Michelle Cooper. Photo Eye Focus

Sometimes life can be complex and baffling for us all, it can be unreasonable and demanding.

The most common issues which people seek counselling for are anxiety, depression, grief and relationship problems. 

Counselling is a great support at these times. I acknowledge that it takes bravery and courage to attend counselling and the first session may be difficult for some people. However, people quickly feel relieved because the process of opening up, sharing and experiencing how they feel have started as they embark on a journey of potential self-growth and personal development and their reward is a sense of inner peace and calmness!

There are many theories about counselling and there are also many different styles and techniques of counselling. However, a counsellor may integrate concepts and techniques from different approaches and define his/her own personal combination and framework for counselling.

Some examples of these therapies are: Gestalt therapy, Existential therapy, Person-Centred therapy, Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) and Reality therapy.

A good therapist is one who is compassionate, empathic, non-judgemental and supportive. He/she will listen, hear and understand you and the issues that are causing your suffering and distress. Counsellors are awarded accreditation by their professional body and are obliged to uphold ethical boundaries by their professional body, for example keeping a client's records strictly confidential, establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries and maintaining a standard of confidentiality.

The first session in counselling involves the therapist asking specific questions about you as a person and your life, your mental and physical wellbeing, your past life experiences and your relationship with your family etc. The reason for questions being asked in the first session is to help you to grasp a clear understanding of what may be going on for you.

The initial session of counselling involves goal setting with the therapist and talking with the therapist about what you hope to achieve in therapy. The work done outside the counselling room is important. 50 minutes with your counsellor each week is not only what is required. It is about applying what you have discovered through the process of counselling to your everyday life.

Making a commitment to therapy not skipping sessions is vital. If the therapist gives you tasks to do between your sessions it is most important that you do your level best to get them done. The therapist cannot do the work for you. It is vital you are an active participant in your counselling sessions.

The duration of counselling is different from person to person. How long therapy lasts for depends on how complicated one's issues are. Therapy can vary from a few weeks to a few months or longer. The more open and honest you are with your therapist; the more you will get out of therapy. It is vital that you tell your therapist how you feel and that you open up fully to your therapist. If issues are too painful for you to talk about, a good therapist will understand and slowly you and your therapist can subsequently work together on your issue.

What is of paramount importance in counselling is the relationship between you and your therapist and not the philosophy behind the therapies used in the counselling room. In my opinion counselling is about increasing awareness. Through counselling we become more self-aware, more self-confident and more emotionally balanced! Counselling IS for everybody, the RIGHT counsellor and your commitment to counselling is KEY!

By Kay McSeeeney, Professional Counsellor at Cooper MediCare, 17 Ashe Street, Tralee.

Wexford People

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