What happens in counselling?

Why it’s useful to know what happens in counselling

If you haven’t had counselling before it can be hard to know what to expect. Who does all the talking? How may sessions might I need? Will I need to lie on a couch? There are plenty of preconceptions about therapy, but if you think it might help you move forward with some of the issues you are struggling with, the information on this page is for you. It tells you a little about how I work, what happens in counselling and what we might talk about during our sessions together. Remember, if you want know more I am just a phone call away, or you can get in touch via the Contact Me page. There is no obligation to book a session, and I will be happy to discuss whether counselling is right for you.

What sort of counselling do I use?

The counselling approach I practice is called person-centred therapy. This type of therapy focuses on you as the client and is reinforced by three important conditions – empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard. Person-centred therapy offers a non-directive interaction. It makes use of reflection, paraphrasing, and clarification to help you see issues from a new or different perspective. This should help you to identify a solution or a way forward, or at least offer up reasons why you feel or experience things the way you do. In my approach I listen actively, and may suggest coping strategies to help you take control of your issues. If you would like to know more about some of the other approaches commonly used in counselling, please read my types of therapy page.

What does a session involve?

Every session is 50 minutes long and gives you the space to talk about your issues. I will use open questions to learn about about your problems, and might ask more probing questions to build a fuller picture about you. This is done in with empathy and is non-judgmental. Therapy encourages you to talk about your emotions and feelings more openly, and even though this can be difficult, it’s an important part of finding a way forward. As your counsellor, I might highlight and ask you to reflect on what is being said, especially something conflicts with its associated thoughts and feelings. Every issue is equally important even if, on the surface, it might appear less significant.

How much talking will I do?

The talking therapy I offer is designed to give you enough time you to talk about the issues you are facing. During our first session I will probably do more of the talking as I get to know you and explain more about what happens in counselling. I will tell you what you can expect over coming sessions and what your commitment to counselling will be. This ‘counselling contract’ also defines boundaries and how to keep our interactions professional. Counselling is confidential, although I have a duty of care to pass information relating to safeguarding issues or criminal acts to the relevant body. The counselling interaction is professional, therefore it would be unethical to have any extended contact with you outside the therapy room, for example through becoming friends on social media. This of course protects both parties.

I will always listen in a non-judgmental way and may prompt you from time to time. We will then consider the best way forward at a pace that is right for you. In addition to talking therapy we might try other approaches such as creative and writing therapy. I do not offer massage, exercise or drama therapy. Whatever we do will be by mutual agreement and I will not make you do anything you don’t want to. As such, my counselling is non-coercive.

In the therapy room

I use therapy rooms in Walsall, Willenhall near Wolverhampton, and Sutton Coldfield. All offer a comfortable and safe space where talking can take place without disturbance or distractions from outside. It’s important that you feel comfortable enough to talk about the issues or problems you are facing.

What will you talk about?

What can you expect to talk about during counselling? This will depend on the approach taken by your counsellor and will be different from one client to the next. Subjects covered will quite often include some of the things you find difficult. This might include things from the past such as your relationships and childhood, and difficulties in the present including your emotions and behaviour.

How many sessions will I need?

As talking therapy is about discussing issues that are difficult to cope with or are affecting your life and emotional well-being, it’s difficult to say how many sessions you will need. Also, each person seeking help is different. We all have individual issues, characteristics and life-experience, and we will make progress different rates. It can take a few sessions before you start to feel any improvement. Finally, although different types of counselling use different techniques, the therapist will want to move you forward at a suitable pace.

What happens in counselling: Time

Counselling sessions will normally last for 50 mins. Please try to be on time, and if you are running late please try to let me know. Keep in mind that a late starting session will still end at the original time.

what happens in counselling time for growth

What happens in counselling: Endings

Ending therapy is an important part of the process, but if you feel counselling is not helping you move forward any more, it’s important to discuss this with your therapist. Abandoning the process without a proper ending may leave things unresolved, rather than drawing matters to a positive conclusion.

Finally, remember that a reputable counsellor working within an ethical framework always has the interests of their client in mind. As a Registered Member of BACP I work within their ethical framework. This includes how to end the counselling relationship at the appropriate time.

Next Steps

If you are looking for talking therapy in the West Midlands or would like to know more about what happens in counselling, please call me on 07824 385338. You can also get in touch via the Contact Me page. As well as working out of the therapy rooms shown above for face-to-face appointments, I also offer counselling via phone and online using Zoom.