How does counselling work?

by rodney on July 7, 2013

what is counsellingI’m often asked the question of how does counselling work. First off, let me say, that is a great question. There was a time when I would ask myself this question. I was fascinated by the fact that if you were feeling bad, you could talk with someone and leave feeling good! There were no “magic words”. I didn’t have to talk to any special god like figures. Just go into a room and talk with a counsellor, and I was the one who did most of the talking!

This sentiment is often at the hearts of many men who say to me that counselling is just talking and that talking isn’t doing anything. This is why a lot of blokes think that counselling doesn’t work.

What they don’t realise is that talking is active. Talking allows you vent emotions, connect with others, make plans and change your mindset, to name just a few. This is why talking is the most powerful tool in a counsellor’s toolbox, and by having the counsellor listen to you enables you to feel valued and validated.

So how does a counsellor use talking and listening to facilitate change in a person’s life? The answer is as varied as the different counsellors out there. Each individual counsellor has their own style and brings something different to the counselling relationship. The best I can do explain the four key things I do to help my clients grow.

The first thing, and this is probably the most important, is to create a safe environment for my clients.  A safe environment is one where not only their confidentiality is secure but also that they are free from judgement, ridicule, stigma, bias and negativity. In a safe environment clients are able to openly and freely express themselves, reveal their emotions and be vulnerable enough to begin the process of change.

Next I allow the client develop insight about themselves and their situation. Insight is developed by allowing clients to talk about their situation, express and vent their feelings and tell their story. I then find patterns of behaviour and reflect these back to the client. With this insight, clients are then able to determine the change they want to make in their lives.

Next the clients develop knowledge of their situation. This is done through resources such as books, articles, videos etc. and through tasks that clients can complete in between sessions. With this knowledge, not only does the client learn what they need to make change in their lives but, most importantly they believe that change is possible.

Finally, clients develop the tools they need to make their desired changes and reach their goals. These tools consist of habits, behaviours and skills. With these skills, and support from me, clients are then able to take control of their situation.

The thing to remember is that it is up to the clients to make counselling work.

 

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