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Counselling is a “talking” therapy, bringing clients relief and psychological well-being by talking through their problems or difficulties. Counselling provides people with the opportunity to discuss specific issues and particular problems they are having.

Counsellors are specialists who work in the public, private and voluntary sector, offering short-term help or support to clients. They are specially trained to help clients work their way through current difficulties by supportive listening and managing problem situations. Counsellors find their skills employed in supporting people with drug and alcohol addictions as well as relationship counselling and helping people deal with anxiety or stress.

People might seek out a counsellor if they are experiencing some difficulty or distress. They might find themselves dissatisfied with life or if they feel that they have lost direction or sense of purpose. Others might seek out help for dealing with more specific personal issues such as depression, anxiety, sexuality, addiction recovery, mental health, anger management or improving self esteem. Some might have difficulties with interpersonal skills and seek help for relationship counselling, parenting difficulties or developing their assertiveness with others.

Although it is often difficult to talk about one's problems, it is important for the client to trust the counsellor and to be open and honest with their feelings. Undergoing a course of counselling is a commitment. Some people can feel overwhelmed by their problems and taking time over each one is important. Courses of counselling can last months or even years and clients must be ready to commit to the process. Results are rarely instantaneous and clients looking for a “quick-fix” solution are commonly disappointed. Ideally, counselling should happen at a regular time each week and last for around fifty minutes. This provides sufficient time to explore and discuss the client's thoughts and feelings in detail and to reflect upon any issues which might have arisen between sessions.

Clients should not expect the counsellor to possess a “magic-wand” that will solve all their problems immediately. A client must understand that they cannot expect the therapist to “heal” them. Rather, engaging in counselling will provide the client with the tools to “heal” themselves. Counselling works best when the client realises that they are the only one capable of making positive changes in their own life. They are then able to make an active commitment to a course of therapy and engage in a process to help themselves move forward.

Taigh Sàmhchair: professional counselling and psychotherapy
Hereward Proops MBACP, registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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