Note : Click on the questions to view their answers.
Q1. What is counselling?
Counselling is a process in which regular discussions and sharing of thoughts, fears and feelings with a trained counsellor can help you to understand and resolve what is troubling you whether it comes from circumstances, other people, or yourself. It can therefore assist you to make decisions or changes which could enable you to lead your life more fully.
Q2. What is the difference between a counselling session and initial intake session?
Counselling provides an opportunity to gain new perspectives and can encourage progress towards a sense of greater well-being. Counselling creates a conducive environment where it is possible for a person make a choice or change or achieve better clarity. Counselling is for normal people like you and me.
Ongoing counselling sessions are different from the initial intake session. When you come in for your first counselling session, the counsellor may cover some of the information you gave us during the intake. However, the aim of this first counselling session is to allow you to talk more about your presenting concern and hopefully to determine the goals you have in mind. The counsellor will help you think through what you want to do to address the concern, with a view to identifying goals for change. Subsequent sessions will be based on what you bring to therapy as related to the goals you have established for improvement. A typical session lasts approximately 50 minutes. There is usually a week or two between counselling sessions.
Q3. Are there things I should tell the counsellor ?
The first session is an opportunity for the counsellor and client to get to know each other and for the client to get comfortable. In fact it can take a few sessions for the client to feel settled and at ease enough to discuss concerns and worries they may never have spoken about before. It is not unreasonable to recognise that it takes time to build trust. This is also the case with online counselling, where it is possible that counsellor and client cannot see one another.
Each counsellor is different and a multitude of approaches are taken. So what you have read about or been told may differ when it comes to seeing your particular counsellor. As such, there will be variations on how a counsellor begins a session. Some therapists may want to establish ground rules or gather pertinent details, others prefer to quickly get started and let you take the lead.
Q4. How does email or internet counselling work and how do I begin ?
It is helpful if you are aware of the limitations of text-based communications. Remember that your counsellor has no visual prompts, so she/he cannot read your facial expressions or body language. The counsellor won't be able to tell if you are physically hurt, and may have difficulty reading your emotions. There can also be misunderstandings when using text.
You should tell your counsellor if:
- you have mental health issues or addictions.
- you have been drinking or taking drugs before the session.
- you are in a domestic violence situation, or if you and your partner have heated arguments which become physical.
- you are in a crisis situation or fear for your safety.
- you don't understand something the counsellor is saying, or need clarification.
- you have concerns about online counselling.
Emotions come up for you during the session, such as sadness or anger. Remember that your counsellor can't see your face.,
Q5. How long is a session? Can my problems be solved in one session?
You'll start by choosing a Counselling Service and filling out the Counselling Request form. I send you some detailed questions right away, usually within a few hours. You send back your answers and then get a response that contains the following:
- A clarification of the problem, which can go a long way towards finding the answer.
- Individualized advice about your specific issues. There are no preset formats, each person is unique.
- Exercises to get you thinking and to start changing any patterned behaviours and thoughts.
- Tools that you can use to continue growing on your own.
When you start your session, take the time to present your situation clearly, including as much detail as you can.
It really depends on the situation and how open you are to changing your beliefs. Some people find that one longer session is all they need. Just talking openly about your issue without feeling judged makes a big difference. We give you a safe space to do just that.
Q6. So how often should you see a counsellor ?
Although progress can be achieved in the first session, generally people need more than one session to help bring about change. This is the case whether you go with face to face or online counselling. In fact the amount of sessions needed will vary from individual to individual. Some people require just three or four sessions, whereas others can see a counsellor for years.
To expect change during the initial session is expecting a lot from yourself. Time and effort are needed whether it is a weight change you are after or a behavioural or emotional change.
Counsellors may recommend a time, but it is always the client’s choice. Some clients like to have a session once a week, whereas others can go months without and then pop back for a session (perhaps because a new issue has arisen which they would like help with). It is not unheard of for a client to see a therapist more than once a week, especially early on.
Q7. What counselling will not give you ?
Never be afraid to go back to see a counsellor. Obtaining support when you need it is a strength, not a weakness.
People new to counselling often hope for quick answers or advice. A counsellor will not tell you what to do. It may not seem possible at first, but the solution will come from within you, with the support and guidance of your counsellor. As such, counselling will not give you a quick fix. This is especially the case if your issue has been with you for some time. Concerns will be unpacked over time, when you are ready. Counselling therefore could be seen as frustrating as your counsellor does not give you instant resolution.
Q8. Counselling will change who I am forever ?
Counselling will not require you to make changes you do not like, or those you are not ready for. Counselling is designed to facilitate positive change. It is important to keep in mind that you are in charge of the change that you make.
Q9. Counselling is only for problems that are severe ?
Most individuals seek counselling for everyday issues like relationship problems, stress, and symptoms of depression. It is true that counselling can be helpful for individuals suffering from severe problems. However, seeking counselling for problems at this level does not represent the majority of clients in counselling. Additionally, attending counselling when problems are mild to moderate can prevent problems from becoming severe