Seeking out counseling is an individual decision. There are many reasons people decide to come to counseling. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one’s life such as a divorce, job changes, death of a loved one, or another major transition. Working with a counselor can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of challenges.
At some point, everyone faces difficult situations. Even though you may have navigated through other difficulties on your own in the past, seeking professional help may ease your process this time. Counseling provides long-lasting benefits and support by giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, change destructive patterns, and overcome many of the challenges you may face.
In our experience, after counselling, people have shared that they “feel lighter”, “gain clarity”, “learn more about themselves and others”, “feel less stuck or overwhelmed”, “feel energized”, “feel good, positive and hopeful”, “take decisions and actions”, “see positive changes”, “improve relationships” and so on. This is often possible because the counsellor is neutral and objective while working with you.
The counsellor’s role is to create a warm and accepting relationship where you will feel comfortable to talk about anything you wish for. Based on what you share, the counsellor will attempt understanding your life and facilitate self-exploration, insight and awareness, helping you reach your goals.
A: Yes, what you say to your counsellor is confidential and adheres to a code of conduct and policies regarding confidentiality. Information you provide with us will not be shared with a third party other than in exceptional circumstances such as safeguarding issues or if required by law.
Counselling is not about providing ready-made answers but empowering you to find your own insights and solutions. As you can imagine, solutions often don’t emerge immediately, so multiple sessions may be required to help you journey inward. Your counsellor will be able to give you a better idea of how many sessions are required, once he/she meets with you and understands your situation better.
Counselling is for anybody who is looking for support and help in tiding over a difficult situation. Much of counselling is to help people who are otherwise quite capable of functioning in their normal lives deal with personal or relational challenges and to get a deeper insight into themselves. If one has a clinical condition, they may need to work with psychiatrists and other medical professions for medical intervention. For some illnesses, it might help to work with a counsellor under psychiatric supervision.
There are several myths. The most popular ones are these:
- Counsellors provide advice and specific solutions to your problems.
- Old people with little or no qualification are better counsellors than younger people with qualification
- Life experience in a counsellor is more important than professional training in counselling skills
- Counsellors use their opinion, intuition and beliefs to help clients
- Counselling is an art and not a science
- Counsellors are perfect and they don’t need counselling themselves
- Counsellors primarily work with career guidance and addiction
- Anybody with a passion and interest in counselling is called a counsellor
The reason counselling is effective is because the counsellor is a third person. This enables the counsellor to be neutral, objective and non-judgmental of you. It is unethical for counsellors to provide professional counselling to their friends or relatives as they may not be neutral and objective with them.
Counselling is for everybody. Every human being has a basic right to have access to a trained professional who can help us in our overall growth and wellbeing. Even counsellors need counselling! Therefore, anybody with a willingness to explore any area of life can benefit from meeting a counsellor.
Counselling is a continuous process where a counsellor uses a psychological framework to facilitate insight and awareness to help you discover your own answers. This process takes anywhere between 4-20 sessions depending upon your needs. Each session lasts for 1 hour. You can start by fixing an appointment with a counsellor after which the counsellor will give you subsequent appointments after each session.
There is not much difference anymore. The terms are used interchangeably. Counselors used to focus more on short-term solutions to more immediate problems, while psychotherapists focused on more long-term chronic psychological and emotional problems. Now most counselors, psychologists, and clinical social workers provide both short-term and long-term counseling appropriate to each individual’s needs.
Counseling provides numerous benefits. Counselors can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and numerous other challenges. Counseling can offer you a fresh perspective on the problems you are facing. Some of the benefits available from counseling include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values.
- Developing skills for improving your relationships.
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety.
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotions.
- Improving communication and listening skills.
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones.
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage.
- Improving self-esteem.
There are no concerns that are too small or too big for counselling. Therapy is a safe space where you can be completely yourself; if you think this is something you may benefit from; counselling is for you!
You may be considering counselling if:
- Your difficulties are making it hard for you to function in your day to day life.
- You’re facing issues in your relationships, at work, or with your family members.
- You feel tired of being discriminated against because of your gender, caste, sexuality, disability, etc.
- You feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of sadness, helplessness or anxiety
- You just need someone to talk to
You may seek counselling for any or all these reasons or none of them.
Since counselling does not mean advising, counsellor dependence may be unlikely. In Fact the counselling relationship will help you help yourself, therefore enabling you to become truer to yourself, more accepting of yourself and more self-reliant.
Professional counsellors are trained with skills and competencies to listen, attend, observe, focus, reflect and interpret in a facilitative process with you. The counsellor will also facilitate insight and awareness such that you understand your own struggles better and come up with your own answers in collaboration with the counsellor.
Since counsellors don’t provide any advice, there is no scope of ‘wrong advice’. The counsellor at best could provide suggestions or recommendations, at a much later stage in counselling, where he/she has understood your context and situation very well. However, any suggestion made by a counsellor cannot be forced upon you. It is up to you to consider it or not.
As with any counseling or therapy, it is often difficult to determine the exact number of sessions which will be needed to resolve problems or issues. Of course, some children will improve faster and others with more complex or on-going problems may take longer. Thrive is committed to providing comprehensive counseling until all issues are resolved.
Everyone discusses their relationships with their friends, so many wonder what a stranger, in the form of a therapist, could tell them that their supportive friends could not. Well, in a nutshell, experience. Couples therapists have worked with hundreds of different couples, all of them different, but often with some strikingly similar challenges to face. This gives them an insight and wisdom that no friend, who only has knowledge of a few relationships, can match.
Psychological trauma usually occurs after a particularly distressing event or a series of enduring events. The result of this can lead you to feel totally overwhelmed and unable to cope. These events are typically so far outside what we expect and what we believe that our reactions can seem somewhat unusual or even disturbing. Reactions like this are normal though and should be expected after trauma. There are different severities of psychological trauma, some symptoms are mild and may go away with time, while others can be more severe (such as PTSD) and will require professional treatment. When it comes to trauma, the sooner you seek help the better.
A good trauma therapist can provide a grounded presence where you can begin to explore your trauma while feeling safe, listened to and held. A therapist who is trained in how to work with trauma will be able to offer grounding techniques, and awareness exercises in the here-and-now so that you can start to feel safe. This helps you learn how to come down from hyper-arousal and helps you to be grounded in the here-and-now experience. A therapist can help a trauma survivor to recognize their resources and skills, and to build on these. In therapy, the trauma survivor may be able to learn how to regulate emotions and feel safer in the here-and-now. Working with a trauma therapist can help you to understand trauma symptoms, and to start to work through your experiences.
That is certainly a valid question. However, couples who have been together for some time tend to have begun to operate along certain patterns, often without even realizing it. Having a neutral third party can help you understand what is really happening in your relationship.
Many people do indeed think that to be effective couples therapy has to go on and on and on. The fact is though that many couples begin seeing and experiencing a real, positive difference in their relationship after just a few sessions. Some may need longer, every couple is different, but for the most part it is a short and effective process.
For some, an obstacle to them seeking help is understanding whether they actually have depression. Before we go into the symptoms of depression, it’s important to point out that if you are struggling with your emotions and feel unable to cope – it could be worth seeking support. You are worthy of help, no matter how trivial you may perceive your problems to be.
Speaking to a professional, whether that’s your GP or a counsellor, can help you understand what you need. This can range from self-help tips and breathing exercises, to psychotherapy and/or medication. Everyone is different and will need differing levels of support.
If children experience difficulty coping at some time (at home, at school, with divorce and separation, with other children, etc.), or if they exhibit behaviors that concern parents or teachers, Play Therapy (or other intervention depending on presenting concerns) may be the recommended approach to help your child. A child is never too young to be seen at the Child and Family Center, each of our therapists are also Infant Mental Health Specialists, trained to work with parents and infants from birth.
Only a trained professional should provide this service for you and your child. “Registered Play Therapists” hold a master’s level mental health degree (Master’s Degree in mental Health counseling, Social Work, or Marriage and Family Therapy) and have undergone extensive training and supervision to become certified by the Association for Play therapy. Some questions to ask that may help you in choosing a professional are:
- Are you a registered Play Therapist (RPT) or registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S)?
- What is your training as a mental health professional?
- What mental health degree(s) have you earned?
- Have you undergone formal education in working with children?
- Have you ever undergone formal play therapy education?
- What method of play therapy do you use to work with children?
Through play, children
- Learn about their world
- Understand how things work
- Express themselves
- Develop new physical skills
- Develop new cognitive skills
- Develop social skills and bonds and work through their problems
Play is the “language” with which children communicate to others. Play is, therefore, the most effective vehicle through which adults can understand and guide children. When there is a lack of emotional or social skills, children learn more positive behaviors through play. Children’s play is their most powerful tool for learning and growing.
The primary goal of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and parent (or caregiver) in order to restore the child’s sense of safety, attachment, and appropriate affect; subsequently improving the child’s cognitive, behavioral, and social functioning. This evidence-based therapy helps children who have experienced a trauma (abuse, neglect, accident, medical procedure, loss of a loved one). Children are able to regain their sense of safety and normalcy and return to being happy, loving children.
It is important to not pressure your child to talk about their sessions. Therapists will talk with parents about anything that takes place in the session relating to the child’s safety or any other important information. Remember that your child is given privacy during his or her sessions in order to allow for self-expression. It is important to remember that progress takes time and children must be allowed to work at their own pace in order to build a trusting therapeutic relationship.