What is Counselling?
Every day we will experience a variety of emotions and feelings. Being happy, enthusiastic or confident are emotions that will make us feel positive and good. Some feelings we experience will be negative emotions such as anger, sadness, regret, lack of confidence, shame or guilt. I would say all of us experience these emotions, but generally we only deal with them at surface level. Our brain is geared to push away the deeper parts of these feelings and emotions, as they can cause pain or hurt, so it's a way of protecting ourselves, a coping mechanism which is an instinctive tool for survival.
For instance, when we get angry, how many of us would ask ourselves the following questions: What does that feel like? How long does it last? Where does the feeling go? I presume not many of us, because we are caught up in the moment and afterwards want to forget about it as quickly as possible, because the feeling of anger is something we would rather not experience.
The same can be said for all negative feelings and emotions we feel, e.g. sadness, loss, grief, pain, guilt, shame, apprehension, despair, anguish, fear and anxiety to name some. We continue through life pushing these feelings away so we don't have to deal with them, day after day, week after week, year after year.
At times these will manifest in different ways as they become too much and overflow. This sometimes happens when we have to deal with additional things in life that are troubling us, and this will bring up past negative events that have been pushed away. We can usually remember the event, our brain can travel back in time in a split second, but we can't always remember the emotions and feelings we felt at the time.
Because we haven't processed the past event we can sometimes get stuck in how we felt back then. With exploration in counselling, we can process those past feelings which can sometimes be very different to how we would experience the same feelings in the present.
When our feelings and emotions are stuck in the past, it can cause us to feel additional anger, low self esteem, lack of confidence, anxiety or depression for example. This can have such an impact on you and your life and send you into a spiral of cognitive chaos, not being able to think about much else and not knowing how to stop it.
Talking can be powerful and counselling is essentially me listening to what you are talking about. Unlike when we talk to family or friends, a counsellor will listen only to your agenda and how you deal with things. People we know usually give us advice based on their experiences and what worked for them.
As a counsellor my role isn't to judge you or to give you advice, and it's not to fix you, but to work together to discover tools within yourself that will enable you to trust your own judgement and your choices, and to learn better coping mechanisms so you are able to move forward in your life.
People sometimes need to talk about very personal and private issues but can't talk to people they know for fear of rejection, being ridiculed or feeling shamed. As a counsellor my role is to be able to feel what it's like for you. I wont be shocked at anything you tell me or to judge you in any way, but to respect you as a human being and to be able to understand and be empathic to what I hear.
When we talk to people we know, we haven't any guarantees that what we talk about wont be told to others, which could at times make our issues worse. I would like you to know that counselling is your space to be able to tell me anything. As your therapist I have no connections to you outside the therapy room, giving you assurance that what you talk about is confidential.