What is counselling?
Counseling is a talking therapy in which a counsellor provides a safe, supportive and confidential environment where the client can explore and work through difficult personal issues that are troubling them. Clients may also want to use counselling to get the support they need to make a change in their life, or to explore their thoughts and feelings with someone who will listen and not judge them.
At the heart of counselling is the building of a therapeutic relationship between the client and counsellor. The trust built up enables the client to explore what can be at times very difficult issues that they may not be willing to talk about elsewhere.
There is no one way of doing counselling. Counsellors will not tell clients what to do, instead giving the client the opportunity to explore their thoughts and feelings, uncover aspects of themselves that they might not have been aware of, and to build up resources and tools to help them in their daily life.
Counselling is confidential, meaning that client information will be protected by the counsellor. There are a small number of exceptional circumstances in which a counsellor may need to share information with other parties, such as serious risk of harm to the client, however this process is generally discussed and agreed at the beginning of counselling.
It is not the counsellor's role to 'fix' the client. Within humanistic counselling the aim is to support the client to be more aware of their issues, patterns of behaviour, and their own resources, in order to help them decide what changes they might like to make.
Although sometimes change happens quickly, counselling often takes time be effective. It requires commitment from the client to keep coming even when things get stuck or difficult. Counselling usually takes place weekly and can be a short-term or long-term, depending on the type of issue and depth that the client wishes to go into.