Counselling usually takes place over 6 to 10 sessions, each session lasting between 50-60 minutes with an interval of at least one week between sessions. (This general format may vary slightly based on the intensity of client’s concern)
What is counselling?
‘Counselling’ may often be referred to interchangeably as ‘therapy’ or ‘talk therapy’. It is a supportive process in which the client is provided with a safe and confidential space to share and find ways to cope with problems or issues in his/her life. Counselling can also be helpful for people who are keen to change unhelpful thought patterns, or for those on a path of self-discovery, seeking to understand themselves better.
Who is a counsellor?
One of the most common myths about counselling is that one goes to a counsellor for ‘advice’ or an ‘expert opinion’. Although the counsellor is trained in the field of counselling and undergoes regular supervision to deliver a service that is ethical and client-centred; we appreciate that each client is in fact an expert on his/her life. As a trained counsellor, we take on the role of a facilitator who assists the client to explore their concerns by getting in touch with their thoughts, emotions, and behaviour; eventually leading to resolution. Counselling is not about giving advice or providing readymade solutions.
Sometimes, people may be unaware of the difference between a psychiatrist and a counsellor. To clarify this, a psychiatrist has a degree in medicine whereas a counsellor is trained in the field of human sciences (in this case, a Master’s Degree in Counselling). A psychiatrist is trained and authorized to prescribe medication, whereas a counsellor is not.
What are the benefits of seeing a counsellor?
Although we may have a supportive network of friends and/or family, there may be times when we feel uncomfortable speaking with them for a variety of reasons – perhaps we feel confused by the conflicting solutions offered by various members, or they have their own struggles and we feel hesitant to approach them. Sometimes, they may even be part of the problem.
In such situations, counselling allows you to explore your concerns in a space that is *confidential and non-judgemental, thus conducive to positive change and growth.
*An exception to confidentiality is when a person is at risk of harm to self or others.
Several factors contribute to the success of counselling. One of the most important factors is the client’s motivation to bring about changes in his/her own life. The decision to come into counselling is a choice made by the client. A high degree of commitment to the therapy process on part of the client as well as the counsellor is likely to yield positive results.
As a counsellor, I perceive the counselling process as successful when a client’s sense of self-belief has been restored, and the client returns to his/her environment with a fresh perspective. Even though challenges may be an inevitable part of life, this person is more likely to transfer their understanding to a variety of situations and continue to grow.
That being said, if at any point a client finds themselves ‘stuck’ at any point after the completion of counselling, they may choose to come in for another session – it is absolutely alright to do so.