Counselling is something that always comes to our minds when our mental health begins to spiral and take a negative turn, but it’s something that many turn down due to not feeling comfortable talking about why they’re struggling and tend to keep it boxed up because it’s too emotional to talk about it, this could be due to trust and past traumas. But most of the time talking about how you feel can make you feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and even though you may feel like you don’t want to talk to anyone, you’ll feel a lot better when you do. 

Don’t feel afraid, or like your going to be judged whatever it is that’s causing you to feel so depressed is something that you can overcome but it will take time and it won’t just disappear straight away. You have to allow yourself to move on, to find solutions to cope with it and be able to live your life in a positive way and counselling can help you do that. 

What actually is counselling?

Counselling is something that can have a massive positive impact on an individuals life, not only that but you develop a trust with whoever is helping you, where you feel like you can express how you feel and they’ll listen and that’s really important. It doesn’t just help individuals, it can help families, relationships and communities. It helps people navigate through tough situations, such as loss of a loved one, divorces, family issues, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, stress from difficult life situations and a lot more. It empowers people to positively live out their life, gives them a sense of hope to want to carry on pushing through.

You’ll be encouraged to talk about your feelings and emotions with a trained counsellor, who will listen to you and support you without criticism. It can take place: face to face, in a group, over the phone, by email or online through live chat services. A single session of counselling may be offered to the client with is a short course of sessions over a few weeks or months or a longer period that lasts up to several months or a year.

Why is it so important?

They will always put the client’s feelings first, they want to understand them and the situation. They won’t make their feeling seem invalid, they will allow them to talk first, no matter how much they have to say, it’s all about expressing how they feel in-depth and them being able to find solutions to help. After they’ve heard their part, then they will respond.

Sometimes, even though individuals are so close to family and friends, they might not like to tell them how they’re feeling because they don’t want them to be upset or worried or put them through stress and it may be that they just don’t understand, that’s not a bad thing some people just may not have been through what the individual is going through. With counselling, the client can talk to the counsellor and know that they can trust them, they are professionals and ones that know how to discuss things so that the situation feels more relaxed and most important you feel comfortable talking about how you feel, keeping everything to yourself is never healthy!

They care about their clients and they focus on how to make them feel better and learn to overcome what they struggle with and it doesn’t matter how long it takes what matters is that the client becomes stronger and learns to push it aside. After years of dedication and education to make a living in this specific profession, they do want to help. Once the client talks about how they feel, they can explain why they’re feeling like that.

Why is it so important to have a good relationship with your counsellor?

Counsellors may offer a session where they get to know you and you can talk to one another to decide if the client thinks that they are relaxed with them and whether they feel they can talk to them about anything and that trust is there.

At the start, they’re practically a stranger but after a few sessions, they’ll feel like they can understand the clients situations and feelings. Without a trustworthy relationship between the individual and the counsellor, there can not be any effective or meaningful therapy. It’s unique because the relationship is unlike those formed in the real world. It is a relationship that is important, it’s not based on the past and doesn’t carry any judgements or feelings that may be associated with external relationships.

It needs to be genuine, it is crucial that the counsellor is real, this means that they can be themselves and they can relate to the individual as much as possible. Obviously they have to be professional but at the same time, they can still be themselves freely. Understanding, recognising and identifying what the client is going through. It helps the client believe that the counsellor hears them and values and understands their needs. Trust is so important, for clients it can be extremely difficult to open up or explore certain feelings due to worry, it matters a lot when they know their counsellor won’t judge them.

Having somewhere to talk that feels warm, caring and safe can help the client feel free to share their feelings, ideas and thoughts and not feel like they’re under pressure.

How to find the right one!

It depends on what type of counsellor you want, you might prefer a man or a women, someone who has had similar experiences to you or a different one or perhaps someone who’s your age or older. But sometimes, you don’t always get to pick who you see, if you go through your GP then they may be able to refer you to local services, but you don’t always have to stick to the same counsellor, some work differently and it may just be a case of finding who you’re comfortable with and who can cater your needs.

Don’t be afraid to question if they’re the right one for you, the most important aspect is feeling comfortable. Do you feel comfortable telling them personal details? Do you like their manner towards you? Do you trust them? Obviously, it’s hard to tell this within the first few sessions, but only you can decide if they’re right for you and whether you need to find someone else.

A good counsellor will listen to you, value what you say, show empathy and understanding, will not talk you down, checks you’re getting what you want through the sessions etc. Always check they have specific qualifications, that they’re accredited by a professional body, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Counselling is not for everyone, but it is an option to explore whether you decide to go through the NHS or private or just go to group meetings. It’s a start to help lead you on the road to recovery and learn how to overcome what is making you unhappy and to find ways to cope in a more positive way.

Journalism Student