What is counselling?

The word “counselling” can drum up all sorts of thoughts and feelings in a person. When I am in a social gathering and get asked that inevitable question of “so, what do you do?”. My reply that I am a counsellor, can have a mixture of responses. Sometimes I can see the person looking away and the tumble weed drifting past or I have someone generally curious about counselling. If you are reading this blog, I am assuming you are of the latter!

I became a counsellor because I was interested in people’s stories. The story of their life. I wanted to be alongside them in the messiness of life and be a listening ear, a support that can help them see a path through the wilderness. I have been a qualified counsellor now for 7 years and have seen many people start off broken, confused, bereaved, bewildered, hurt, ashamed or curious. Each person’s story is unique and so there is no “one solution fixes all” in relation to counselling. I personally feel the most important part of counselling is the relationship you have with your counsellor/therapist. You need to be able to trust your counsellor. To know they are on your side, that they are your cheerleader, that they want to see you thrive and increase your resilience to make changes in your life. Most people that come in for counselling want to see some change in their life. The counsellor is there to witness that change.

As each person is unique, so is each counsellor’s style of therapy. They will draw on core beliefs of how people can change, but they will approach those beliefs in different ways. Some will give you homework to work on outside of sessions, some will use creative techniques in the sessions such as drawing, play doh modelling, sand tray work, some will use physical movement to help with healing of trauma, some will use psycho education to improve how you talk with your partner or family members or children. Each counsellor will listen, not judge, accept you for who you are, keep things confidential and will celebrate with you when change happens. Counsellors are human and carry their own fair share of hurts and bruises so don’t worry you are not alone when you tell your story to a counsellor.