What is Counselling?
What is Counselling?
Counselling or Psychotherapy?
Many therapists continue to debate the difference between counselling and psychotherapy, but the truth is that today the differences are so insignificant that they can be seen as one and the same thing. In order to keep it brief I will use the term counselling to refer to both of them.
Talking based therapy
Counselling is a professional talking based therapy to overcome psychological or personal problems. Usually sessions will last about 50 minutes and occur once every week. In traditional therapy the counsellor and client will be in the same room, but with advances in technology it can also be carried out via Skype, Telephone or Online Chat. Through a verbal dialogue the therapist will use their expertise in psychology to assist the client to some kind of solution or resolution, to come to terms with life events or to understand themselves better. The therapist will be regulated by at least one governing body and have been trained in one or more psychological disciplines.
Do different theoretical perspectives matter?
While there are positives and negatives to each of the different types of counselling, they do have similarities. All types, be it CBT, Attachment Theory, Person-Centred Approach, Gestalt, e.t.c have been developed through observing human behaviour and as such are just slightly different interpretations of the same thing. Whether we like it or not, most of the ways we think, feel, act, react and interact have been developed through our experiences in life. Each theory merely focuses on a different aspect of how our experiences have led us to become the people that we are today. Importantly this means that as long as a therapist is competent then you should benefit from any of the well respected theoretical approaches. However, it is important to know that above all else the most important key to success is the relationship between you and your therapist; or quite simply whether you can trust your therapist or not. If you want to learn more about the different theories of counselling then keep an eye on the blog section.
Trust in your therapist
If you have trawled through websites of different counsellors you may have noticed that most of them refer to themselves as being non-judgmental and that the counselling room is a safe and secure place to be. This is in fact the basis of the most well known theories and for very good reason. Unless you as the client can trust your therapist, it doesn’t matter what theoretical perspective they come from or how many years of experience they have, the positive effect of therapy will be considerably impaired. It is quite simply the trust that whatever you share in the counselling room will be contained by the counsellor and will not affect the way that the therapist views you. This is so important to me that I will always offer a free assessment session so you can meet me before committing to paid therapy.
Counsellor and client together
It is important to understand that successful counselling involves a joint venture of both counsellor and client, with each working hard to achieve change. Although it may sometimes be the case, you do not need to be in crisis to attend counselling. The purpose is that you will attend for a certain length of time to use the therapist’s expertise and that at some point you will no longer be in need of the service. Setting goals at the start of therapy is important so that you have a goal to work towards and an end point is in sight.