Counselling is a form of talking therapy in a safe, confidential and non-judjemental setting where one feels accepted and respected to explore what is on one’s mind. It is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives, or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth. The counsellor is a specially trained professional therapist listening to individuals and helping them to find ways to deal with emotional issues.
The role of the counsellor is to assist people gaining a better understanding of their feelings and thought processes, aiming to find their own solutions to problems. It is not the counsellor’s role to instruct their clients what to do, so they won’t usually give advice. They will encourage people to talk about what’s bothering them in order to uncover any root causes and identify their specific ways of thinking. They will then assist them to figure out for themselves what best suits them and their situation to either help them reconcile their issues, or help them find more effective ways of coping.
The aim of counselling is to help alleviate the distress one feels, to help individuals overcome their immediate problems and also to equip them to meet future problems. Counselling, to be meaningful, has to be specific for each client since it involves his unique problems and expectations.
Counselling can help individuals to cope with a variety of issues such as: mental health conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety or eating disorders) or an upsetting physical health condition (e.g. infertility, autoimmune disease), difficult life events (e.g. loss of a loved one), a relationship breakdown or work-related stress and also difficult emotions (e.g. low self-esteem or anger).
As counselling is not based on a one-size fits all approach, each session is generally tailored to the individual. There is flexibility that allows for a variety of counselling formats, including individual counselling and/or group counselling, face-to-face sessions and/or distance counselling, brief or long-term counselling. However the most frequent format is a face-to-face 50-minute session at a specified time slot once a week.