It’s a wonderful thing to find something that helps us. It can change the way we view ourselves, our relationships, the world and life in general. However, what works for me might not work for you and that is why asking someone else to tell you what to do can be really unhelpful. Counselling is one of those things that can change your life. It can work on so many levels. It can help you to understand and accept yourself. It can help you to understand your relationships and why you might keep repeating some unhelpful behaviours. It might help you to improve relationships with your partner, your family, your friends and work colleagues. Or it might simply be the only place where you can really be you and work through all those things that you don’t want to tell anyone else about. How often do we have the experience of starting to tell a family member or friend something before they jump in with their own story, say something silencing like ‘tell me about it’ or simply not care enough to engage and listen?
It’s no surprise that when people have a positive experience in counselling that they think everyone should follow suit. I’ve been there too, thinking that lots of people I encounter might benefit from counselling. There’s a big but coming. We can’t expect others to have our experience. The research suggests that the client’s engagement with therapy is a key indicator of success and you simply can’t force anyone to ‘have’ therapy. It has got to come from them and their desire to change something in their life. I’m sorry if you are worried about someone close to you and want them to have therapy. It’s understandable. In my experience, it rarely works when someone is told to have therapy. And not only are they told to have therapy, but often the person who suggested it tries to sustain some kind of input into the ongoing therapy process by telling the client what they should be working on in therapy rather than letting them unfold in their own way. It’s simply not a healthy way to proceed. If someone is telling you what to do all the time it really raises questions about the type of relationship you have with them in the first place.
If you are concerned about someone, please support them and by all means make suggestions about what could help. But I don’t accept referrals via family members because I only work with adults over 18 years old. It’s not ethical, establishes an unhelpful power dynamic and diminishes the client. It’s the client who has to want to change, to want to try counselling and they are the ones who need to contact me. I understand it’s hard to contact a counsellor and I will do my best to help you engage in the process.