There is no right way ‘to do’ counselling which sounds unsatisfactory I know. It is really going to depend so much on the relationship which develops between you and your Counsellor. It is also going to depend on the model of therapy your Counsellor draws on. For more on this please read my blog post different approaches to psychological therapy.
Have you ever wondered whether other people are going to declare that you are a fake and simply not up to it….whether it be a job or some studies….or a relationship….or something else that matters to you. If not, that’s great. It sounds like you feel confident about yourself. If on the other hand you go through life feeling like this, then it sounds like you may have low self-esteem. Or a critical voice inside your head which says you are not good enough, never have been and never will. And it’s only a matter of time before everyone else finds out and rejects you.
I don’t want to start trying to analyse why you might have low self-esteem. It’s not really my style. However, I do think it can help to understand where it comes from. Mainly because you can start to challenge some of the assumptions you might be making. If you can remember feeling like this when you were growing up then it’s probably no surprise that you feel like this now. Big people seem to be very good at telling little people about all their shortcomings. Over and over.
Feeling like you are going to be ‘found out’ adds another layer of stress to a situation that might be stressful enough. Imagine what your life would be like if you started to trust in yourself and your abilities. Let go of the beliefs that you are inadequate or not good enough. Who’s voice are you hearing? Who is it that is telling you don’t add up to very much.
I think that counselling can really help if you feel like this. I promise you that if you decide to work with me I won’t ask you to write down a list of all the things you are good at. I can’t imagine anything worse. If someone tried to work with me like that I’d run a mile. After all, if you knew that stuff you wouldn’t need me in the first place.
So you picked up the phone and made the appointment to have some counselling. You have taken the first steps to making some changes in your life. And now you’re sitting in front of the Counsellor and you are wondering what to say.
Does this sound familiar? Maybe not. Some clients are quickly comfortable in counselling and know exactly how they want to use the time and what they want to get out of it. That’s great.
Others, however, are unsure about how counselling might work and wonder how the person sitting opposite them is going to be able to help. I remember feeling like this and I didn’t like it one bit. I felt uncomfortable and exposed and wanted to run for it as far away as possible. Some clients ask me if how they ‘are’ in counselling is normal. That assumes there is a ‘normal’. It’s really hard to write about what to say in counselling because that assumes there is a right answer. And the truth is there isn’t. Your counselling experience is going to depend on you. If you are someone who finds it hard to trust others then it may take some time before you trust your Counsellor. You might even test your Counsellor by telling them some things to see if they are shocked, before moving on to talking about the things that are buried away. The things that keep hurting you.
Based on my experiences (in both chairs) I would say that if you don’t know what to say then tell your Counsellor. Ask for help. That’s why you’re there. If it’s not forthcoming then maybe you’re sitting in front of the wrong person.
Glimpses of Problems with Relationships
I never really feel good about myself. I find it hard to make friends. I can never really figure out the right balance between being needy and being stand offish. Being needy is a really bad place to be. I watch others and try and figure out what they’re doing. It looks like everyone else has got this relationship business figured out. Except me. The annoying thing is that when someone starts to get close to me I push them away. And then I feel lonely. I’m not surprised that people find me confusing. I’m pretty confused myself.
What kind of thoughts do you have about relationships?
Do you find yourself repeating the same old patterns in your relationships with others? Do you feel stuck and unclear about how to improve you relationships? Do you ever have the following thoughts:
‘I feel trapped in my relationship.’
‘It’s always about them and never about me.’
‘I feel that other people don’t like me.’
‘I crave close relationships, but I push people away if they get too close.’
‘I feel inferior to others and stay in the background.’
‘I’m a people pleaser.’
‘I don’t feel heard.’
‘If something goes wrong others always turn it around and make it my fault.’
‘I can’t say no to others.’
Our relationships can nourish us and help us to feel that we belong. Connecting with others is important for our emotional wellbeing and can help to make us feel safe and secure.
If we find it hard to be in a relationship with others then we can end up feeling lonely and misunderstood. We can start to think that we are the only ones who are not good at creating successful relationships. This can lead to problems in our families and at work.
How Can Counselling Help?
It can be hard to admit that we find relationships difficult. We can make assumptions about other people and believe that they have all the answers when it comes to relationships. Counselling offers you a confidential and non-judgmental environment to explore what is troubling you. It can help you to understand yourself better and to identify the patterns of behaviour in your relationships. It can give you an understanding of the importance of appropriate boundaries in relationships and the confidence to say what your needs are.
Copyright 2010 Christine Bonsmann. All rights reserved.
This time of year can be stressful and full of expectations. This is especially true in the current economic climate. For those who have lost their jobs or are finding it hard to make ends meet it can be challenging to feel happy.
For some people, especially those who have recently lost someone they love and care about, this can be a very sad time of year. Full of memories.
What about all the lonely people? The people who have no family. We can get so wrapped up in our own lives that we might not even notice.
Then there are the people who do have a family. And that is the problem. Maybe you are unhappily married or feel that you are getting things wrong with your children. Maybe you have problems with parents or siblings. Do you feel like a child again when you return to your parent’s home?
I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and I hope that you find some joy and peace in 2011. I know that Christmas can be a lonely time for many people. Even for those surrounded by people. Sometimes we can think that everyone else is having a great time and we are different. If you would like to make some changes in your life or talk through anything which is troubling you, then please get in touch.
by Counsellor, Leamington Spa, Staffordshire
Many clients come to counselling because they recognise that they are finding it difficult to achieve a balance between work and their personal life. They may be suffering from symptoms commonly associated with anxiety and depression, for example not being able to sleep and feeling tense. [Read more…] about Feeling stressed at work?