How to decide if counselling is the direction for you and finding the best help possible.

Why counselling?

One in five people in Britain will engage in counselling at some point during their lives, meaning that at least one in three people will contemplate going for counselling.

During our lifetime there are many things that happen that shape us into the person we are, some of these are happy events and some of them are unpleasant or even abusive incidents. When someone is in the process of deciding to go to counselling it is imperative that people understand that counselling is there for many different reasons.

Specialist counsellors are available for issues surrounding abuse and extreme trauma. In these cases, access to counselling may be offered through certain authorities for example, through the police or the NHS. This would be offered at the point of trauma or shortly afterwards. If you have experienced a traumatic event in the past that was not dealt with, and these therapies are no longer available to you, you may still wish to seek out a specialist counsellor in that field.

Counselling can sometimes be accessed via charities and organisations dedicated to specific causes.

The majority of people will want to access counselling for what could appear to be less severe issues, but we must never forget that over the course of several decades these small issues can become momentous and cause negative effects on our lives. In addition to this we will all experience loss of something or someone we love at some time which will affect us all differently depending on our past and current situation.

Counsellors are also available for progressive and positive life path changes, for example, talking through careers, retirement plans or day to day struggles and stresses.

some other reasons that people may decide to engage in counselling are:

  • Childhood Issues
  • Relationships
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Illnesses and caring issues
  • Addictions
  • Social integration
  • Parenting
  • Phobias and anxiety

With all of these possibilities, if an individual decides to go for counselling then there are several things they need to consider to ensure that they get the most they possibly can from their therapy.

Step one: How to decide if counselling is right for you

It is important to remember that once somebody has decided to go for counselling, their decision will fluctuate. Some elements that may affect this are:

  • Fear
  • Friends and Family
  • Time restraints
  • Finances
  • Accessibility of the services and sessions
  • Lack of support
  • Being unsure of how to find a counsellor

It may take weeks, months or even years to make this decision, but it is important to realise that in order for counselling to help you, you have to be willing to engage with the counsellor and with the process of therapy.

It is often a change, a loss or a specific incident that gives people the final nudge to start looking for a therapist.

Step two: Finding the best counsellor for you

When searching for a counsellor it is important that you choose a therapist that belongs to an accredited register.

Belonging to an accredited register ensures that the counsellor delivering the therapy is qualified, supervised, insured and subject to a code of ethics and complaints procedure.

The National Counselling Societies register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). The PSA is an independent body, in place to help protect the health and wellbeing of members of the UK public. They do this by raising the standards and regulations of people working in health care roles such as counsellors.  

Finding an accredited counsellor near you is simple. Visit The National Counselling Society where you can search for a therapist using your location.  

Step three: Choosing the right kind of counsellor for you

An individual does not always need to be completely sure of the things that they wish to explore during therapy. Quite often, during the course of your sessions you will find that experiences and emotions you may not have been consciously aware of arise.

If, however, you are aware of a primary concern, then it is a good idea to find a counsellor who specialises in that area.

During your decision making you may have identified a pattern in your behaviours and actions and being aware of this will also help you in your initial sessions.

There are several different approaches in the counselling field. General members of the public may not be aware of these, so it is important to discuss a perspective counsellors training and approach during your initial introduction.

If you are planning to go to somebody in private practice, you may have more choice in the therapist you see. It is often a good idea to contact more than one person and have an initial chat with them about your goals. You will then be a good position to make an informed decision.

Counselling is a two-way process and it is important that a client and therapist build an excellent rapport. If at any time you feel that this in not being established there is nothing wrong with bringing this to your therapist’s attention. It may be that a therapist with a different approach would better suit your needs and circumstances.

Step Four: Embarking on therapy

It is likely that you will make a contract with your counsellor as to how many sessions you will have initially. Your therapist, depending on their approach may ask you to do some exercises or work at home to bring to your session or they may ask you to keep a diary of some aspects of your life. Most people going for counselling can expect it to feel difficult at times and often feel vulnerable. These feelings are completely normal and should be something that you take to your counsellor. You should also be aware that counselling can challenge relationships, and this is also completely normal. 

The duration of counselling is dependent on the service and the issues that you are there to work though.

Finally, the most important thing to be aware of when searching for a counsellor is that you choose a qualified professional who makes you feel comfortable and can provide sessions that are accessible and beneficial to you. To find an accredited counsellor use the National Counselling Society register to ensure you get a fully qualified and experienced counsellor that suits your requirements.

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