By Seija Grant, MEd CP, RP (Qualifying)
So I realize that counselling and psychotherapy can be a very intimidating process for many, and can feel almost too scary to even consider as an option. Well I am here to try to calm your nerves, hopefully answer some questions, and break things down a bit.
What type of counselling is right for me?
First of all, there are a few different types of counselling and many different styles. A few of the types are: individual, couples, family and group.
Individual counselling is one to one, and likely the most common type. If you want to work on getting along with others, maybe couples or family counselling is for you. The dynamics of these types are all quite different, as there are different personalities at play. The other type you might come across is group counselling, which means a group of (usually) unknown to each other individuals who all have a common thread. It is usually led by two co-counsellors. Group counselling is sometimes more accessible than individual, and can be extremely valuable. They all have their benefits, but only you can decide what is right for you at the moment. Some people may see different counsellors for different purposes at different times in their life. This makes sense if you consider that humans are complex beings with multiple dynamic relationships and are constantly changing over the lifespan.
In terms of the different styles – well there are so many that I couldn’t even list them all here. However, some of the main groupings of approaches on the scene these days are: Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Humanistic and Neuroscience-Informed. Within these groups there are a myriad of different styles. Each therapist is unique in their own approach and will often have multiple influences within the work that they do with their clients. I know this seems like things are getting pretty complicated, BUT there is a silver lining here. There are several factors unifying counselling styles that are common across the board. Counselling is collaborative, meaning you work directly with your counsellor to achieve your goals. It is a safe-place to be yourself and to talk about your concerns, issues in your life, and your feelings regarding these events or occurrences. Also, you can speak openly and confidentially while having someone listen to you non-judgmentally.
Who can benefit from counselling?
Well I would truly say that anybody could, as we all have complicated histories, concerns and problems in our lives at some time or another. If you are trying to identify if this would be a good idea for you, ask yourself “What issues are affecting me or preventing me from living my best life?” In counselling you can work on thoughts, emotions/feelings, and behaviours. Some of the topics that come up frequently in counselling are: grief and loss, processing trauma, self-exploration and improvement, addictions, bullying, illness, mental health issues, relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, overwhelming feelings, life transitions, gender or sexual identity, body image, etc. Through the counselling process you can gain an understanding of your issues, concerns, life, and perspective.
What helps to make counselling more effective for people?
I would venture to say that attending counselling consistently is one of the biggest factors, but also being open and honest with your counsellor and providing them feedback on how you are feeling about your sessions together. These things will help the counsellor to adjust to your needs, and tailor their approach to suit you best. Some of the many benefits of attending counselling are an increase in your overall wellbeing, as well as helping to build and increase your coping skills and mechanisms to build a stronger YOU.
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