What does a Counselling session involve?
Counselling is a safe and confidential space where you can talk to a trained professional about your problems and worries. Your counsellor will help you explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviours so you can develop a better understanding of yourself and of others.
A counsellor will not give you their opinions or advice or prescribe medication. They will help you find your own solutions – whether that’s making effective changes in your life or finding ways of coping with your problems. You are the expert in yourself.
Counselling mostly takes place in planned, regular sessions that last for a therapeutic hour, usually 50 minutes. How often you see your therapist and how many appointments you have, will depend on your personal circumstances, and will be agreed between you and your therapist.
During a session, your counsellor may take you through specific exercises designed to help with your problem, or you might have more general discussions about how you're feeling. What you talk about will be up to you.
Your course of counselling starts with your counsellor and you agreeing on a day and time for your sessions. It is important to make them the same day and time every week. You will agree on what medium to use - at the moment, due to Covid-19, we are talking to clients on the phone or seeing them on an online platform, like Zoom.
The first session will be about what brought you to seek help in the first place and what you would like help with, going forward. The counsellor will ask you some general questions, such as address/birth date/GP details/ previous mental health issues/medication/ counselling experience. They will also ask about what support system you have and what your set up is; are you single, living with someone etc.
A counsellor is there to facilitate a safe space for you, the client. They are not a doctor, they aren't there to 'fix' anything; they are there to listen to you - with empathy and without passing judgment - helping you to make sense of all the often conflicting thoughts in your head. The counsellor has no agenda and the therapeutic hour is yours to use as you see fit, in order to get what you need from your counselling session.
The therapeutic relationship – that between a counsellor and the client – is very different from that of friends, colleagues or family members. The counsellor’s room is a space where you can just be yourself and talk about anything and everything on your mind, without worrying about feeling guilty of ‘burdening’ anyone with your thoughts.