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How do I get the best out of my counselling?

(9 Posts)
Iamjustthemilkmachine Sat 27-Aug-11 22:03:34

Just started, we are on the second week, she's of the line of 'we are starting a journey, you are going to guide me through it, not me guiding you' but i feel that I don't know how to go about it!
Do you have any tips on how to really make the most out of counselling?

NanaNina Mon 29-Aug-11 20:45:50

She sounds like a good counsellor. The work of a counsellor/therapist is to "manage the therapeutic process" and the agenda is yours. You don't have to think of "how to go about it" - there is no right or wrong way - it is just what comes up - the counsellor will talk with you about your issues, and I assume you must have difficulties as you are having counselling.

I think the main thing with a counsellor is that you feel comfortable with her and trust her with some of the things that you may not have been able to talk about before. There aren't really any "tips" as such. I think it's important that you are as honest and open as possible about your difficulties and don't hold back fearing that you will shock the counsellor - that isn't possible.

Counselling is not a short cut out of difficulties - it can be a long process, especially if you are struggling to deal with traumas from the past.

Hope you get on well with your counsellor BUT if you don't feel comfortable you may have to try another one - it's horses for courses really. Not sureif this is NHS - if so you wouldn't be able to change, but if you are paying, then you are the customer and can call the tune (so to speak)

Iamjustthemilkmachine Tue 30-Aug-11 10:30:46

Thank you nananina, was feeling a bit lost there.
It's not nhs, it's through a charity so I do have some control. Thank you for saying not to hold anything, I was just worrying about that.

NanaNina Tue 30-Aug-11 14:55:27

Hi milkmachine - I assume you mean "thank you for saying not to hold back on anything..........." I think sometimes we think "oh better not tell her that" etc, but we wouldn't go to the dentist and not tell him/her about the pain in one of your teeth would you. It is partof the human condition for us to have all kinds of difficulties and upsets in our lives, almost always related to the past, and no counsellor is going to be shocked at hearing something for a patient. Hope I'm barking up the right tree here!

Iamjustthemilkmachine Tue 30-Aug-11 17:55:22

blush yes!

Eurostar Wed 31-Aug-11 00:07:05

What sort of counselling are you having, what's her approach/training? Main thing I'd say is, don't be afraid to ask questions if there is something you want to know about the process.

Iamjustthemilkmachine Wed 31-Aug-11 10:37:33

She's young and has the btec level 5 in therapy and counselling, she volunteers at the charity where I go, not sure if the type of counselling has a name, but it's not CBT. I find it difficult to talk unprompted, specially at the beginning of the sessions, and find her input sometimes superficial, but other times it's interesting to think about what she has suggested/asked, etc.
I just don't know where this is going to take me, at the moment it feels as if I'm just going to 'talk the issues out', and end up so tired of talking about it that I will just want to forget them. This is not what I want, I'd like to be able to live with my issues in some kind of acceptance.

madmouse Wed 31-Aug-11 10:42:19

It sounds like person centred counselling which is what most charities offer. It means that she will mainly listen and reflect back to you.

NanaNina Wed 31-Aug-11 19:10:57

I think sometime our expectations of counselling/therapy are way too high. It is no magic bullet - if only! I don't your age milkmachine but as a 67 year old I think I would find it difficult to talk to a young woman who has the minimum qualification I suspect to be able to ply her trade as it were. I don't mean this to sound snobby, because we all have to learn our trade somewhere, and mostly it is "on the job" - it is very very difficult for newly qualified counsellors to get work as there are so many of them out there with years of experience, so volunteering for a charity is a good idea and proves that she is trying hard to use her qualification.

I have had counselling in the past and am presently seeing a very experienced clinical psychologist on the NHS, and didn't think I would be offered this on the NHS. I feel much more comfortable with this one than the other one, but like you I often felt/feel "I wonder where this is taking me" and the talking therapy doesn't do anything as far as I am aware to help with my anxiety and depression. I am mostly ok but get frequent "blips" and my CPN referred me to this counsellor.

I think if there is some buried trauma in your life that needs to be given an airing, counselling can be a very good thing. It certainly won't take away the memories but it may help to make them more manageable. My first therapist spent 3 months trying to unearth some buried trauma that wasn't there to uncover and I got really frustrated with her. She was of the old fashioned psycho-dynamic type (you know Freud and dreams and all that stuff). My present one is very different and works more in the "here and now"

My suggestion is that you carry on with this counselling - yes there will be sessions where you think "what was that all about" but other times, something relevant will come up. Most counselling can get stuck at some stage and an experienced counsellor will recognise this and know how to move things on. Carry on with the journey and see how things go. If it doesn't do any good it won't do any harm and it's free!

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