Counselling takes place when a counsellor sees a person in a private and confidential setting to explore a difficulty the person is having, distress they may be experiencing or perhaps their dissatisfaction with life, or loss of a sense of direction and purpose. It is always at the request of the person as no one can properly be ‘sent’ for counselling.
By listening attentively and patiently the counsellor can begin to perceive the difficulties from the person’s point of view and can help them to see things more clearly, possibly from a different perspective. Counselling is a way of enabling choice or change or of reducing confusion. Counsellors do not judge or exploit their clients in any way.
In the counselling sessions the person can explore various aspects of their life and feelings, talking about them freely and openly in a way that is rarely possible with friends or family. Bottled up feelings such as anger, anxiety, grief and embarrassment can become very intense and counselling offers an opportunity to explore them, with the possibility of making them easier to understand. The counsellor will encourage the expression of feelings and as a result of their training will be able to accept and reflect the person’s problems without becoming burdened by them.
Acceptance and respect for the person are essentials for a counsellor and, as the relationship develops, so too does trust between the counsellor and person, enabling the person to look at many aspects of their life, their relationships and themselves which they may not have considered or been able to face before. The counsellor may help the person to examine in detail the behaviour or situations which are proving troublesome and to find an area where it would be possible to initiate some change as a start. The counsellor may help the person to look at the options open to them and help them to decide the best option for them.