When people are struggling in life, they can find it difficult to know who to turn to. People often feel it should be their friends, or family, that support them. But friends and family can’t always provide you with the support you need.
Sometimes people worry that their friends and family have their own problems, and they don’t want to burden or worry them. There is also the fear they can’t trust their impartiality, or confidentiality. Or sometimes they are part of the problem, and talking to them about it just seems too difficult. So rather than taking this risk, it often feels easiest to bottle it up, say nothing and try to keep on smiling.
The problem with this is that the problems often don’t go away. They simmer away, or disappear for a while and then come rearing up again. This is when counselling can help.
People can be put off by the thought of counselling. Why should telling a stranger help them deal with their problems? What happens in a counselling room? Is it just two people, with one doing most of the talking, and the other nodding their head and doing a lot of Mming? Well, sometimes. But there’s more to it than that.
Therapists bring a whole range of training and experience into the room with them. They can often introduce clients to tools and ideas which they have learnt along the way. But most counsellors will agree that nothing is more important than providing safe space for people to bring their stories; to give them a safe space to unpack all that they have hidden away, and come to terms with what has happened, who they are, and who they would like to be.
There are three things counsellors can bring into the counselling room to create that safe space; honesty, empathy and respect for their client.
Why are these so important?
Well, what’s the point in telling someone your story if you can’t believe their responses?
Why tell of your hurt, anger, sadness, or joy … if the the person listening doesn’t understand?
And who is going to tell their story, if they think that they are going to be judged them, shamed or thought badly of at the end?
It sounds so simple, but in everyday life, these qualities are very rare. So if you need to tell your story or work through some problems. If you need to be heard, understood, responded to honestly but with respect and admiration, then a counsellor might be a good person to talk to.