Month: March 2021

Curiouser and curiouser…

Some people cannot stand the idea of counselling.

This can be for any number of reasons, some valid, most not!  But then again, I would say that wouldn’t I?  Some people have had counselling before and didn’t like it/the counsellor.  They felt patronised, they felt like a victim, they felt like a patient, the counsellor always thought they knew best, the counsellor talked too much about themselves, the counsellor asked about private stuff…etc.  All these complaints can be very valid.

Always remember, you are in control, you can change your counsellor.

Similarly, I have heard the complaint that the counsellor did not ‘fix’ the individual / partner / family / relationship / problem to the client’s satisfaction. Now, this is tricky as clearly there needs to be clearer outcome / expectation management from the counsellor / client and this should be a key part of any initial session.  That said, this goes into the territory of my previous post “if I had a magic wand….  Which I don’t!” – what is a realistic outcome for you?

Always remember, you are in control, you are the expert in yourself, or your relationships, or your issues and your needs.  The counsellor is there to assist you in a supportive, an understanding and in a non-judgemental way.

I have heard the complaint that the counsellor was ‘not on my side’.  That’s an easy one.  A counsellor should be independent.  Supportive, understanding, non-judgemental AND independent.  They are no one’s side nor there to find fault.

Always remember, counsellors should be curious, supportive, understanding, empathetic, reflective and independent – but not, generally, on your side

If I had a magic wand…which I don’t!

When people come to counselling, it is very important that everyone involved is aware of the aims of the people seeking the counselling have.  If it is a couple, it is often the first time that one partner (or both!) has actually been asked the question “What would be a good outcome for you?”, and frequently the first time that one partner (or both!) have actually spoken it out loud to each other.

It is helpful to the way that counselling will progress that this is stated out loud at the beginning.  It is absolutely fine to say “I don’t know”, “I didn’t want to come” or “Don’t ask me!”, all of which I have heard multiple times, it is also fine if you don’t really have much of an idea yourself and mutter ”You’re the Counsellor!  – You tell me!”, it’s hard enough to go to counselling PERIOD let alone saying something out loud to a stranger!

However, what this question can do is cause you to reflect and any measure of reflection of our behaviour is a ’good thing’. If you are able to think about your behaviour and its effect on yourself/partner/family/others that’s great.  If you can’t, so what – coming to counselling at all is very brave as people are usually totally out of their comfort zone / routine.

The fact you are there at all speaks volumes, even if you don’t say anything!