Preparing for counselling
Counselling is a process of understanding and change, changing what doesn't work for you by working through thoughts and feelings, and setting realistic goals for yourself and working to achieve them.
You may have a particular event that has brought you to counselling such as redundancy or another life stage that affects you such as bereavement or relationship breakdowns with friends or colleagues, or family pressures to behave differently to how you want to live your life.
If you are attending as a couple there may be a sudden change in the relationship such as an affair or you may have a sense that the relationship is 'just not right anymore'. You may have seen repeating themes and patterns of behaviour over time and want to change these.
In the first session I am working to help you to settle into the process of telling your personal story to a stranger and guide you to find what will help most and promote change quickly. Im looking for your 'headline news' - how I/we want to be. This is to enable me to send you home with changes already happening, new thinking, new ways of speaking to each other to soothe and provide a calmer place, a breathing space where is feels ok to tackle deeper and wider issues as sessions progress.
Thinking through the items below will help you structure what to talk about in the first instance.
What do you want to change? What kind of relationships do you want to create; to yourself, your work, your family, a significant other? How motivated are you to do the work you need to do to turn your situation into something more beneficial?
Why now? - What has happened to bring you here today?
If you are seeking to understand an existing couple relationship, its usually better if you are both in the room together, I recognise that this isn't always possible.
The human brain is wired to notice negative things, words, feelings, actions. Counselling, whether for individuals or couples, is helping you towards positive change, positive feelings about yourself/each other, understanding the formation of the issues and how to remedy them, and making you and your relationships future-proof. Due to our inbuilt ability to easily see what is wrong, its mostly easier to identify fault in any person or situation than look at how we ourselves contributed to the situation; this results in blame, shame and guilt. Looking at things more calmly and respectfully lets the brain settle down and make changes easier and more available to us.
I will offer you techniques to use at home to improve communication and understanding as themes develop in the counselling. Each session stands alone and builds on the last one, with an ongoing assessment of the changes needed.
Preparing for your session is always time well spent.