1. What is counselling?

Counselling is a process where, by talking to a professional about how one is feeling, one can work out, or try to change or accept the things that cause him/her distress. The counselor facilitates one to explore and understand the problem situation in detail to help regain clarity while addressing feelings of distress and then form an action plan.

2. Who needs counselling?

Counselling might be beneficial for you if… Something has been troubling you over a period of time and you’re having difficulty finding a solution on your own. The situation is affecting your well being, for example, causing depression, anxiety or stress. You find it hard to talk to friends or family because they are directly involved in the issues. Issues are having an impact on your day to day life including relationships or work. Counselling can help you reflect and make sense of difficult life events and find a way to move forward. Talking to someone neutral, outside of your immediate situation, can show you a different perspective and help you find a way forward. Talking with a trained counsellor who is skilled at listening can help you to process difficult thoughts and feelings. Sharing your worries helps you feel less alone with the problem. You can gain a better understanding of yourself and a clearer sense of what you want and need. You can practice communicating more clearly and honestly in the safety of the counselling relationship. Counselling can help improve your relationships and your ability to communicate.

3. How much time does the counselling process take?

It depends on a lot of factors, as each individual is different. One may see effects in 12 sessions (three months to a weekly session).

4. What kinds of problems can I talk to a counselor about?

It can be anything that is troubling you. A few examples of issues that come up are : Relationship difficulties – with family and friends, colleagues, commitment, jealousy, abuse. Family dynamics – partners, children, parenting, separation and divorce. Lack of confidence – worried about failing, never being good enough, feeling judged Depression – feeling isolated, lonely, empty, tearful, unloved, suicidal. Destructive behaviour – Binge eating, harming yourself, abusive relationships, alcohol, drug. Stress – out of control, panic attacks, feelings of inadequacy, fear. Bereavement – Loss, anger, loneliness, sadness & depression. However it varies from each individual.

5. What do I say?

You can say whatever you like and however you feel comfortable. Sometimes there is silence; sometimes you might find yourself saying things you had not expected to say. The counsellor will help you explore the matter and will keep referring to you to clarify his/her understanding.

6. Will the counsellor give me advice?

Counsellors don’t give advice, they act as facilitators as since the purpose of counselling is self empowerment. The process will help you make your own decisions. The counselor will not decide the course of action you ought to take, the choice will always be with you.

7. Doesn’t asking for counselling mean admitting failure?

It is ok to have problems and ok to seek help. Many people think that they are being strong in not seeking help whereas in fact those who can admit to their difficulties could be considered the strong ones. Asking for counselling often mean you have taken the first difficult step on the road to resolving the problem.

8. Will confidentiality be maintained?

Whatever you share with your counselor will be kept confidential. In a situation where the counselor feels he/she has to involve someone else they will seek your permission.

9. Wouldn’t I be better to try and sort it out for myself?

Of course there are ways you can help yourself apart from counselling – counselling is just one of the answers. Many problems can be sorted for yourself – however it doesn’t need to be an either/or situation. Counselling is a resource for when you need extra help.

10. What about talking to my friends?

Many of the reasons that make counselling effective also apply to talking with friends. Therefore a talk with a friend may well be helpful and counsellors often encourage clients to use their social support network. However there are some drawback to using friends as your only confidants and support. Friends might feel a conflict of loyalty and find it hard to keep things confidential Friends might become upset themselves by what you are telling them Friends might be put out if you don’t accept their advice If you need lots of help friends might begin to feel resentful and you might feel guilty Counsellors have had training and have formal support and a work structure which helps them to deal with upsetting and difficult situations; friends may begin to feel overburdened, especially if they have their own problems too.

Finally, sometimes we need slightly more specialised help than friends can provide.