Men in pink cardigans? Complete waste of time? What do they know anyway? TheSite.org sidesteps the cliches and tells you the basic truths about counselling as a treatment.
What is counselling?
Counselling is basically a chance for you to talk through your problems/anxieties/emotions with a trained counsellor, who plays a supportive role, and may sometimes provide practical advice on problem solving.
Talking, but can't I just do that with my mates?
Well yes, and for some people this is easy and they can work through their problems this way. For others talking to a complete stranger may actually make you feel more comfortable about letting everything out, you don't need to worry that your secrets will be out, or that your 'mate' will think differently of you. It carries no preconceptions about who you are.
Recommended: Low self-esteem issues, bereavement, relationship issues, work and study worries, anger, stress, and mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Not recommended: (or would need to be used alongside other treatments). Severe depression, in fact any serious condition, phobias and compulsive disorders.
- It can offer a supportive and caring relationship in which you can explore any issue at your own pace
- You are accepted for who you are
- It can help you see difficulties more objectively
- It can help you express your feelings and come to terms with new or past experiences
- It can improve communication
- It can help you take control of your life and become more assertive
- It can help you to become more realistic in setting goals
It is possible to become dependent upon your counsellor, which may hinder rather than help you sort through your difficulties.
Where can I get counselling?
Counselling is offered by various agencies including via the NHS and non-statutory organisations such as the Samaritans, and at universities, colleges and schools. One third of general practices now have an in-house counsellor.
Family and relationship counselling
In some instances, it is useful for couples or families to work together in a therapeutic setting to resolve their difficulties. The therapist encourages dialogue counselling between the participants, in order to improve communication between them. This technique is also useful because it helps the therapist to understand each person's difficulties within the context of the group.
People who share a common problem may be invited to participate in group therapy. Often people who participate in this therapy appreciate the support of others within the group who have actually experienced, or are experiencing, similar difficulties; it may help them to recognise that they are not alone in their experiences, and to discover new ways of coping with their distress.
Not recommended: In some cases this type of treatment is not appropriate, if you are very anxious about discussing your fears in a group, you may feel your problems are either trivialised compared to others with 'bigger' worries, or that you are the only person there with a serious problem and maybe you are just a 'freak'.
Recommended: However others really benefit from it, especially in the management of stress and anger. In the case of relationships it also allows both/ all the parties to get their views across, unlike an argument, or one-sided individual counselling.
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