What happens in a counselling session?

Many people enter counselling feeling anxious about the process of therapy; they are unsure of what is expected of them during the session and unclear about what the therapist will actually be doing during this time.  This is completely understandable as there are many approaches to therapy and many myths portrayed by the media.

I have written the following article to offer you a specific introduction to how I work, what this means for you as a client and I have endeavoured to include both the benefits of challenges of therapy.

What is psychotherapy and counselling?

Psychotherapy and counselling is a process in which the therapist and the client discuss a variety of issues, events, experiences and memories for the purpose of creating positive change to enable the client to experience his or her life more fully. It provides an opportunity to better, and more deeply understand one’s self, as well as, any problems or difficulties you may be experiencing. Psychotherapy is a joint effort between the client and the therapist and demands the commitment of both parties. 

How I work

My emphasis within therapy is to work collaboratively with you to develop greater self-understanding, self-awareness and improved health. Once we establish the focus of our work and develop your treatment plan we will begin to work with manageable goals to support you to achieve richer, happier and more productive relationships and life.

Throughout this process your values and beliefs will be respected and there will be no intention to embarrass or manipulate you. At times I may encourage you to discuss issues and memories that are at the core of your problems and this may feel uncomfortable, this is always undertaken sensitively with the intention of improving your life and relationships.  I will support you throughout this process by utilising techniques that will help you to regulate your feelings, tolerate distress  and maintain a sense control and stability.

Personal growth and change may be easy and swift at times, but may also be slow and frustrating. It will usually take more than a few sessions of hard work to notice any sort of change. There may be times when I will challenge your perceptions and assumptions, and offer different perspectives.

The Benefits and Challenges of Therapy

Progress and success within therapy will vary depending upon the particular problems or issues being addressed, as well as many other factors. Participating in therapy may result in a number of benefits, including (but not limited to), reduced stress and anxiety (emotionally and physically), a decrease in negative thoughts, feelings and self-sabotaging behaviours, improved interpersonal relationships, increased comfort in social, work, and family settings; increased capacity for intimacy, and increased self-confidence. Such benefits require substantial effort on the part of the client, including an active participation in the therapeutic process, being honest, and being open and willing to change.