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.
Some things, however, are common across most therapists. First of all you will discuss the boundaries of your work and talk about things like confidentiality. Your relationship with your Counsellor will be different from other relationships. It is for a particular purpose to serve you and your needs. You are not going to continue seeing your Counsellor after the work has ended. This can feel very difficult for some clients. Maybe the work has been really successful and you feel that you are not going to cope so well on your own. Maybe the work has been unsuccessful and you feel angry. Whatever your experience it can be really helpful to work through this with your Counsellor. Closure is so important and endings in counselling can be so poignant. They can remind us of all the other endings we have had in our lives. The good and the not so good. Saying goodbye can bring up so many feelings of loss.
What else might happen? Well you might find yourself talking about stuff you never even realised bothered you and feel really surprised. You might spend your time driving to your appointment thinking I’m going to talk about this and that today and when you get there something entirely different emerges. You might spend a lot of time wondering what your Counsellor thinks of you. I can’t speak for other Counsellors but I never think that my clients are silly or that their material is insignificant. Ever. If it matters to you then we need to talk about it. I am full of respect for my clients. Embarking on some hard work to make their lives better. Placing their trust in someone else. It might be the first time you have ever trusted anyone. Something really life changing can happen in the process of counselling. You can find out you are entitled to a life, to be heard, to have your needs met. You can find out who you are and who you are becoming. How many people do you know who can say that?
Sometimes you might say things that you wished you hadn’t. We can’t unsay stuff. If you ever feel like this then you’re not alone. I remember feeling like this so often. I even thought I might not go back to my Counsellor. I felt worried that they might judge me for things I’d said or done. Shame. Such a burden. I wondered how someone could know all this stuff about me and still keep on seeing me………and even act like I was an ok person.
There’s a lot to write about here, so I’ll continue on another day. Any questions, then do get in touch. I don’t know all the answers but together maybe we can find out how your life could be more fulfilling.