Counsellors are trained professionals who specialise in listening to your emotions, feelings and what is going on in your life, with empathy and without judgment, in a safe, confidential space. They don’t give advice or prescribe medication, but help you to figure things out with their guidance.
Counselling provides a safe space for you to talk and explore difficult feelings or emotions, without judgment. The counsellor is there to support and guide you, and respect your views and concerns. As you are the centre of your recovery and treatment, it’s important to find a counsellor that works for you and your needs.
Counselling can be useful for a wide range of things, such as:
- depression and sadness
- anxiety, panic and worry
- work-related stress, job loss or redundancy
- relationship breakdowns or family problems
- addiction and substance misuse
- low self-esteem and lack of confidence
- developing skills to understand other people’s viewpoints
- grief and bereavement
- exploring feelings related to gender or sexuality
As you begin counselling, you will be talking about difficult or painful feelings, which may make you feel worse in some ways. It’s important that you keep going, and work with your therapist to feel better.
Counselling is usually an ongoing process, and it may be the first session or several sessions before it begins to make a difference – regular committment is needed to make the best use of counselling.
It can be a great relief to be able to share your concerns, worries or fear with someone who listens with empathy and no judgment, and who acknowledges how you are feeling. Being able to talk things through with someone who doesn’t know you can also make it easier for you to share the things that bother you the most without fear of judgment or stigma.
Counselling usually takes place face-to-face but can also be over the telephone or online – there was a shift to online and over-the-phone counselling during the COVID epidemic, but this has been gradually returning to face to face. Because the nature of counselling can involve you facing difficult feelings, it can be hard for a counsellor to know when to stop if they can’t see you.
For counselling to be effective, there needs to be a trusting relationship between you and your counsellor. If you feel that you are not getting the most out of your sessions, you should discuss this with them or ask for a referal to a different counsellor.