Counselling is available for everyone but there are a few things to consider. Is it the right time for me to have counselling, have I got the right counsellor, can I make the time needed to really engage in counselling?
Is the time right for you? Have you got something either on your mind or something that has happened to you that you feel ready to talk about? Many people suggest counselling to loved ones in need but in fact the time may not be right. A client needs to be ready to face the issues, ready to talk about what they are feeling and be ready to explore possibilities for change. This can only be decided by the client themselves, not the GP, not the counsellor and not the friends and family. Making the decision to start counselling is the first step in starting to feel better.
Have I got the right counsellor? This can be a tricky one. If you have been sent to a counsellor via your GP you won’t necessarily get to choose who you see. If you do not feel a connection with the counsellor then therapy can be harder for you. Think about what you want from a counsellor. Do you want to see them face to face or online, do you want to have telephone counselling or would group therapy be the best thing for you. It is hard to know what is best for you and it is ok to try several different counsellors if you don’t gel straight away. I have done this, found a counsellor and then realised that they are not the person for me to open up to and so found someone else. Think of it as you are interviewing the counsellor to see if they are right for you.
You are looking for someone who can provide what you need. Have a look at websites to see if the counsellor works in the way that you feel comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you book an appointment. If you have experienced CBT before and found it helpful you may want a CBT therapist again. Similarly if you have had very solution focussed therapy before but you want to explore your past then someone who is an integrative counsellor may be better for you as they have the tools to really help you to explore why you feel the way you do.
Have I got time for counselling? This is a big one too. Counselling can bring up lots of thoughts, feelings and emotions that you have had locked away. Having the time to process what you have disclosed is important for you after the session. I always check that my clients have time for themselves after the sessions as they will need to process the session. Having your therapy in your lunchbreak may be the only time you have but can you concentrate on work afterwards? Some therapists offer appointments in the evenings and weekends which can give you more time to go into the therapy with a clearer head and give yourself time afterwards.
Have a think about what you want to get out of counselling and see if the therapist is right for you, after all it is your life you are working on.