Have you ever felt like there’s something on your mind but you don’t feel that you can talk to your friends or family about it? Or maybe the people you would normally talk to are involved in some way and it would affect your relationship with them to talk to them about it. Has somebody ever suggested to you that you try counselling? If the answer to one or all of these questions is yes, you may be wondering if counselling really is for you.
Counselling doesn’t just give you the answers
It is a common misconception that people go to counselling to be ‘cured’ of something or that your therapist will tell you what to do. This simply isn’t the case. Counselling can be very rewarding but you have to be prepared to put the work in and lay your feelings out on the table. It might sound scary, but us counsellors have been there ourselves and understand that we must be sensitive to your emotions and be there with you throughout your counselling journey. We may be professionals, but you are the true expert in your own life and these two parts can form a great therapeutic relationship.
How will counselling make me feel?
There isn’t an exact science to answer this question as everybody is completely different and come to counselling for all sorts of different reasons. There is no right or wrong way to feel and any way you feel is completely fine but it’s always good to share these feelings with your counsellor so you can work with it together. If you come out of your session feeling better – that’s great! But remember that you may not always feel that way. Some people may say they feel worse after initially coming to counselling and that is completely normal. Counselling is a space where all sorts of different emotions and memories are explored and feeling down sometimes is all part of the process.
What should I expect from an initial session?
The initial session lasts for 50 minutes – the same length of time that any session lasts. During this session, you will be asked to fill out a very short form just asking general questions such as your full name, address, phone number and date of birth. These details will be kept complete confidential and will only be used if the counsellor is legally obliged to do so. There is also a short working contract that states simple points such as the fee of the session and any cancelation policies. This agreement is between yourself and your counsellor and you are free to discuss these points if you need more clarity or would like to add anything. The rest of the session is just a chance for the counsellor to hear a bit about your story and also for you to see if you are able to work with this particular counsellor. A counselling relationship is subjective and a counsellor that somebody else may get along with well and feel comfortable with, may not be somebody who is best suited to you. There is no obligation to see us again.
Will I be able to trust my counsellor?
The answer to this is simple. Yes. Anybody counselling under Lemon Counselling is bound by the BACP Code of Ethics of which confidentiality is a major part and anything you share with us will remain that way unless we are legally obliged to share it. To make sure we are up to standards to be able to see clients, we must also have supervision which means from time to time we may share our caseload with somebody. We may speak to our supervisor about what you have shared in session, however your identity will remain anonymous and pseudonyms will be used instead of your own name. If a friend or family member would like to know how your sessions are going, they are welcome to speak to you about this, however we will not disclose any information at all.
Does counselling really help?
As long as you are willing to put the work in, yes. Remember that it’s not just a quick fix and you probably won’t suddenly feel better just from attending 1 session. Counselling is all about exploration and being true with your feelings. It may not be right for you to start trying to make big changes straight away, and however strange it may sound, its only when you stop trying to change yourself and accept who you are, that the changes occur.