How does counselling work?
Counselling provides a time and space for you to talk about whatever is troubling you.
Being able to talk to someone is important as it helps you to make sense of confused and painful thoughts and feelings which you may have held inside yourself for a long time. It may be difficult for you to talk to family and friends about personal issues, or it may be that you have found these kind of discussions uhelpful in the past. Talking confidentially to a professional who is outside your immediate situation and who can offer new questions and perspectives can be very helpful.
The counsellor may suggest exercises or activities that could help resolve issues. These may be done during the counselling session or at home, and may involve for example, relaxation techniques, writing or drawing about your thoughts and feelings.
What sorts of problems can counselling help with?
These are some of the issues that counselling can help to address:
- Anger management
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Bereavement and loss
- Confidence building
- Depression and low mood
- Eating disorders
- Low self esteem
- Mid- life crisis and other major life changes
- Relationship difficulties
- Self harm
- Sexual issues
- Sexual abuse and rape
- Sexual identity: LGBT and BDSM
- Sleeping problems
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work related issues including stress and redundancy
Some clients who attend counselling may have more general feelings of dissatisfaction or unfulfilment. Also, some clients use counselling to help them come to a particular decision in their life. You don’t have to have something ‘wrong’ with you, to find counselling helpful.
How much will it cost?
Our fee for individual counselling is £40 per session. Our fee for couples counselling is £50 per session. For people on a low income we can offer low cost counselling with our counselling-in-training on a Wednesday daytime.
How many sessions will I need?
The length of counselling varies depending on the issues you are bringing and what you want from counselling. It can last just a few sessions to up to a year or more. The length of counselling will be agreed between you and your counsellor.
When will I start to feel better?
You may find that you feel an initial sense of relief after sharing your situation with the counsellor. Many people begin to notice positive changes in their thoughts, feelings or behaviour after just a few sessions. Issues and problems which are more complex or have been going on for a long time will take longer to resolve.
Because counselling can involve talking about painful memories and difficult emotions, you may feel vulnerable at times during counselling. This is a normal part of the healing process – painful emotions often need to be expressed and experienced before they can be resolved. Your counsellor will help you to feel safe with painful emotions and discuss with you ways of taking care of yourself at these times.
What if I don't feel comfortable with the process?
Sometimes it is important for us to do or say things that feel new, risky or uncomfortable, and the counsellor will provide support as you step out of your comfort zone. But you are not obliged to do anything you are uncomfortable with, and sometimes just having a conversation about what feels uncomfortable can be the important work.
How do I know if I need counselling?
People often ask, 'do you think I need counselling?' It's difficult to answer this. The decision to see a private counsellor is always a matter of personal choice. A better question to consider is, 'might I benefit from trying counselling?' You can read a longer answer to this question on our blog.
How do I choose the right counsellor?
Research shows that the key factor in determining whether counselling is effective is the quality of the relationship between the counsellor and client (the person coming for counselling). So it is important to choose a counsellor you feel comfortable with and someone you can imagine building a good working relationship with.
Your initial appointment provides an opportunity for both you and the counsellor to meet, make an initial assessment of the issues, and very importantly, to decide whether it feels as if you would be compatible to work together.
The counselling relationship is a distinctive one where trust, boundaries and respect are very important. Our ethical framework ensures that we treat the conversations with absolute respect and confidentiality. It also states that we are not permitted to meet clients socially, outside the counselling relationship.