We know what we are, but not what we may be. Shakespeare
There are many ways to work as a counsellor – my approach is Person-Centred. This approach, devised by Carl Rogers, belongs to the Humanistic school of therapy. Using the therapeutic relationship – based on equality, empathy, authenticity and acceptance, it harnesses the natural self-healing process. This means I won’t be offering advice or direction. I have found in my own life that when I follow other people’s advice, it often doesn’t work out as I’d hoped. What I hope to offer is the space for you to discover your own answers – as they tend to be more sustainable and satisfying. I can’t know what is right for you, however, when afforded the right environment, you certainly can. The counselling relationship provides an environment which is conducive to personal growth, as well as general wellbeing and problem solving. It enables and empowers people to explore issues and themselves in a safe, agreed, non-judgemental and non-directive environment where your autonomy is assured, and confidentiality is paramount.
In order for the counselling relationship to be clear of any judgements or assumptions, it has to be the only contact between us. Therefore, it’s not possible for me to counsel someone I already know, or for that counselling relationship to also become a friendship. This is because we care what our friends think of us. It’s important that in the counselling relationship, you are free to express yourself fully and freely, without any concern for how that is experienced by the listener, or the effect it might have – otherwise you filter what you say. We share different parts of ourselves with different people, but the counselling relationship should be one where you can freely explore and experience all that you are, without fear of judgement, disapproval or need to impress.
As you may get insights and realisations about yourself, your core beliefs and underlying emotions, some people find it helpful to keep a journal. It might also be helpful to take some time after your session to think about it, to anchor any new insights. Your healing journey is not limited to the session time but continues between sessions.
Sometimes deep feelings, realisations, memories, underlying beliefs and other insights may emerge. It is helpful if you can allow yourself the time and space to deal with them. Occasionally things can appear to get worse before they get better, but this is our issues coming to the surface in order to be recognised, acknowledged and eventually healed. Allowing time to fully feel into what’s going on will speed this process.