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. If you are considering therapy to help with the some of the issues you are experiencing, 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 sessions. I will try and tackle some of the preconceptions about therapy in order to demystify the therapy process. If you want know more about what happens in counselling, please can get in touch via the Contact Me page.

What sort of counselling do I use?

The counselling approach I practice is called person-centred therapy. This therapy focuses on the client by using the core conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard. Person-centred therapy offers a non-directive interaction, because the process of reflection, paraphrasing and clarification can help you see issues from a different perspective. This should help you to actualise a solution or at the very least to give reasons why you feel or experience things the way they do. In my approach, I actively listen and on occasion may offer suggestions of coping strategies to help you take control of your issues.

What does a session involve?

Every session is 50 mins long, in which you can talk about your issues. I will use open questions to gain as much information about your problems and ask probing questions where appropriate to build a fuller picture about you. This is done in an empathetic way whilst remaining congruent and nonjudgmental. This allows you to talk about your emotions, thoughts and feelings more openly, even though this is sometimes very difficult. As your counsellor. I may even challenge what is being said if it conflicts with associated thoughts and feelings. Every issue is equally important even if, on the surface, it might appear less significant. Sometime, the smallest things can make the biggest difference to how we feel.

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 if there are safeguarding issues or criminal acts disclosed there is a duty of care to pass information on to the relevant body. The counselling interaction is professional therefore it would not be ethical to have any extended contact with you outside of the therapy room, for example to become friends on social media. This of course protects both parties.

I will always listen in a nonjudgmental way and may prompt you from time to time. We will then consider the best way forward at a pace that’s right for you. In addition to talking therapy we might also try art, 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 do. As such, it is non-coercive.

In the therapy room

I use therapy rooms in Walsall, Sutton Coldfield and Streetly and they vary in size and layout. All give us a comfortable and safe space where talking can take place without disturbance or distractions from outside. As a minimum they contain two chairs, enough for talking therapy. My larger room in Walsall also has a sofa, but it’s up to you where you sit. The important thing is 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?

Remember, talking therapy is about discussing issues that are difficult to cope with or are affecting your life and emotional well-being, so it’s difficult to say how many sessions you will need. Additionally, each person seeking help is different. We all have individual issues, characteristics and life-experience, and will make progress at a different rate. Either way 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 because I will often have someone else to see immediately after you. If you are running late please try to let me know, and keep in mind that the session will still end at the original time. Again, this is because I will need to see a client after you.

what happens in counselling time for growth

What happens in counselling: Endings

There may be times when a client feels that therapy is not helping them. This should be discussed with the counsellor to see how these difficulties can be resolved. It is unwise to leave without having this discussion because proper endings are part of the counselling interaction. As such, ending counselling needs to be planned so the therapeutic interaction can be closed in a positive way.

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

Therapy rooms and online counselling via Skype

If you are looking for talking therapy in the West Midlands or would like to know more about what happens in counselling, please get in touch via the Contact Me page. I work out of therapy rooms in Walsall, Sutton Coldfield and Streetly. Most of my sessions are face-to-face, individual sessions. I don’t do home visits but I do offer counselling via Skype.