…Thought I’d write a few words about my experiences. My aim is not to sway you in any particular direction, but to give you an idea of what to expect.
Monday is counselling day. Luckily, the lady I go to is excellent so I don’t view going as a chore (And I’m not just saying that because I passed her the address of my blog earlier!) I hauled myself upright at the sound of the alarm, ran a bath and entered leaving the house mode.
My counsellor follows Person Centred Therapy, also known as Client Centred Therapy.
Client-centred therapy is based on the principle that the therapist provides three ‘core conditions’ that are, in themselves, therapeutic.
• empathy (the ability to imagine oneself in another person’s position)
• unconditional positive regard (warm, positive feelings, regardless of their client’s behaviour)
• congruence (honesty and openness).
The theory suggests that if these three core conditions are in place, the relationship between you and your therapist will help to you to feel differently about yourself and your life. This can then help you to make changes in your life, if you decide you want to do so.
In the past, I’ve also been referred for Psychotherapy, CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) and to counsellors specific to events in my life. I am a firm believer in the idea that there is a counsellor for everyone. Not every client/counsellor relationship will work out. I once had a counsellor refer me back to the office because she felt I refused to take on board what she was saying. Funny that…Since I felt exactly the same way about her! I didn’t know at the time, but I would have been within my rights to speak to the organisation she worked for myself.
The NHS Choices website gives the following information on trusting your counsellor –
A good counsellor will focus on you and listen without judging or criticising you. They may help you find out about how you could deal with your problems, but they should not tell you what to do.
For counselling to be effective, you need to build a trusting and safe relationship with your counsellor. If you feel that you and your counsellor are not getting on, or that you are not getting the most out of your sessions, you should discuss this with your counsellor.
If the situation does not improve, or your counsellor is dismissive or unwilling to discuss the issue, it is perfectly acceptable to look for another counsellor with whom you feel more comfortable.
If you are seeing an NHS counsellor who is attached to your GP surgery, your GP may be able to arrange for you to see another NHS counsellor. Alternatively, you could pay to see a private counsellor. Many counsellors and counselling organisations offer a sliding scale of fees, where the more sessions you have, the cheaper it becomes.
The counselling I’m undertaking at the moment was arranged through Women’s Aid. It followed the incidents of domestic abuse from my ex partner, but my counsellor’s approach is more far-reaching. We are exploring my attitudes to life and relationships, how I can go about making changes and not get into an abusive situation in the future. I’m finding the sessions extremely valuable in helping me move forward and overcome past difficulties. Today we discussed the research I’ve being doing into Personality Disorders and how it may be harmful for me to hang a label on myself before I am diagnosed. I agreed that it was probably best to wait for my appointment and any possible diagnosis before looking further into it. I also mentioned my thoughts on “being a magnet” for troubled partners. We talked it through and came to the conclusion that I do not have a magnet attached to my forehead! However, we did discuss the possibility of my homing in on people with problems because I believe I can help them. When we discussed my methods of helping a little further, it started to sound like a bad idea. I actually began to laugh at how absurd it sounded…Though of course of being in the thick of it isn’t quite as amusing. We went on to talk about how I had probably not dealt with past hurts and methods of letting go. The session took an hour and felt more like talking to an impartial friend.
Not everyone’s experience of counselling will be as positive as the one I have described. Personally though, I feel that counselling and taking regular exercise has helped enormously. I recommend anyone interested in talking therapies should explore their options. An appointment with your doctor could help, as well as researching self-referral agencies in your local area. As is ever my motto: It is important to do what feels right for yourself and not be pressured by others.
And with that, I can hear the distant call of the gym! My MP3 player died a dramatic death on Friday night so I’m stuck with whatever delights 4Music throws my way…Luckily am there to work out and not to dance!
In other news…I put a wash on earlier, complete with a pack of smokes and lighter in my hoodie pocket! Today may well be a good one to quit. Since I smoke around 1-4 cigarettes a day, it seems stupid to keep buying them.
I’m continuing to think of ideas for posts…Please feel free to suggest anything you’d like me to cover and I’ll see what I can come up with.