In my previous post, you will notice I asked a lot of questions about the counselling process. This post will hopefully give you some insight into my own ideas, views and beliefs about my counselling.
So; onto my response to my questions.
I wonder why it works so well this time? What is different this time? How had it become that I felt great after each session? Was it to do with the counsellor, or was it to do with me? And is this how it feels when it really works? Is this what counselling should look like? And if so, why had it never looked like this before?
I believe that this time around, my own approach to my counselling has been very different to previous therapies. In the last 10 years, one of the most important lessons I have learned, is that honesty and openness helps to keep me well. I don’t necessarily mean just being honest about how my days have been or how I feel now etc. I mean complete honesty as in also bringing up any issues with the counselling process too. During my last counselling session, which seems to have been the most significant yet, I spoke to my counsellor about issues I’d normally shy away from. You know, when you want to say ‘There is something I would like to say’ but you don’t feel confident enough? I wanted to discuss my own behaviour and bring up things that required a certain amount of assertiveness to it. And I did that; I brought things to the session that felt so difficult to discuss but I knew if I didn’t that it would play on my mind and eat away at me. What was different this time? The counsellor is the obvious difference. A fresh pair of eyes is always helpful. But I think the main difference is my approach. I am not going to gain much from the sessions if I am not as open and honest with the counsellor as I should be. I have learned that my thoughts and feelings are not right or wrong. They just are. I have learned so many times, that bottling something up; even the ‘small’ things, can be detrimental to my health. I know from experience, that if I don’t speak the truth about my feelings, that it takes it’s toll on me and I can become very unwell.
I do believe this is what counselling should look like, for sure. I believe that an effective partnership between counsellor and client is essential. If you don’t feel comfortable with somebody you are working with, then it’s likely that you won’t feel able to bring your most difficult feelings to the sessions. Feeling great after sessions isn’t just about having a ‘buzz’ from getting things off your chest; it’s also about feeling motivated, confident in your own abilities and inspired to make changes; no matter how small.
I think that counselling this time around is so different because I am so different to how I used to be. I know a lot more about myself, through all my previous therapy, and I’m lucky enough to have become assertive throughout my life (not just in counselling).
That does not mean I have assertiveness down to a tee. There are some areas in my life where I still struggle a lot. But, if it can change and improve in other areas of my life, I know it can change in all areas. I just have to be patient with myself enough for it to come in time.
So… the key, for me has been: authenticity, transparency and honesty. In general, we get back what we put in. So going into anything half-arsed means you won’t experience the optimum benefit. Holding back only means you prevent yourself from taking another step forward. Only you can change that; with the right person/therapist. It’s a combination really then.
A good therapeutic relationship in which you feel safe enough to do or say things that may enable you to learn about yourself, along with a drive within you that makes you want to improve things, will equal success. Whether it improves your own self-belief, self-esteem or confidence will mainly depend on how much of the real issues you discuss.
This time around, therapy is different in the sense that I am not learning skills I didn’t have; it is more about re-connecting with my current skill set. Of course I am, and may continue to learn new skills too, in the process; which is a bonus.
The quote below is one of my favourites, and by one of my all-time favourite writers; Erin Hanson. Don’t be afraid of falling. Just go with the flow. Take risks and believe in yourself. You have what you need, inside. You just need to access it ❤ something that my counsellor has recently reminded me of. She’s spot on!