Thinking of counselling and wondering if you will say the ‘right thing’? What is the ‘right thing’? Will the counsellor think my problem is stupid? Will I offend the counsellor if I say what I really think? Will I have to lie down? Can I park or will I have to walk to get to the appointment?
When you think about counselling it is usually at a time of crisis when you want support with a difficult situation and then all these questions and hundreds more make it seem all too much to bother so you carry on a little longer hoping that you will be able to sort it. Does that sound familiar? Most people go through a similar experience the first time they do to counselling.
Firstly, there is no ‘right way’ to do counselling. The first time that the counsellor meets you they will probably be feeling a little of that nervousness as well. Their questions are more about their ability to help the individual, will their experience guide them, will they be able to listen and say the right thing at the right moment or will they kick themselves when they can think of it 10 minutes after the client left the room?
So you see, the first time is difficult for both parties.
During the first session it is OK to ask questions about the counselling processing. Some questions won’t be able to be answered like ‘how long will it take?’ but if you are worried about something then please say. If you look at the piles of art materials and wonder if you will have some drawing work during the session and this does not fit well with you, then say. The counsellor won’t force you to do something if you really don’t want to. Similarly, if it doesn’t get offered and you are curious about using it, then ask. It is a 2 way working partnership and counsellors are working hard to get you where you want to be but they aren’t mind readers.
Counsellors try to work ‘with’ the client so it is as much about understanding each other, getting that good ‘fit’ where both parties can feel at ease about processing the clients difficulties and finding emotions and words to talk about it.
Some counsellors offer a free first session or a free appointment where you can sit with them, see if you like the look of the room, the counsellors, see how warm the room is, whether it smells funny or whatever. It is OK to use these for several counsellors to get a feel for the one that you ‘fit’ with best. A counsellor is a tool to work with to help you feel better in the world. If you think of different counsellors as different tools such as a hammer, a drill and a screwdriver then you can see if you need a hammer to work with and you end up with a screwdriver then you aren’t going to get there quickly……… if at all!!