Going to counselling is tough. In fact, so tough, that many people avoid it as long as possible. For many, that means counselling happens once things are “past the point of no return”. It’s unfortunate…because that actually can give counselling a bad rap…when people go only as they are already packing their bags to leave the marriage it isn’t surprising that therapy doesn’t help.
Therapy doesn’t force people to do anything against their will.
It takes courage to begin therapy. Lots of it. Many are unfamiliar with the process, and are worried about what is going to happen in a session–concerned that they will be made uncomfortable by being asked to do or say something that would feel violating or intrusive.
This is a good article about one couples experience in counselling. It is from a British magazine, written from the wife’s perspective. I like the article because it feels like an accurate snapshot of the sort of work we do at Bergen and Associates Counselling…the way in which the counsellor helps them explore their relationship, to reconnect with themselves and with each other, to see things from another perspective that allows both partners to speak accurately with gentleness to each other. The counsellor’s work with this couple allows them to make decisions that realign themselves and their values. The couple’s rediscover the love they have for each other, and the desire they have to be together–not because they were told what to do, but because, with the counsellor’s help, they discover what was there but was hidden…what they’ve known all along but forgotten…what was rock solid and present but buried beneath the pain, busy-ness and chaos of life.
Counselling was a totally different experience to what I expected.
I had ideas about being lectured but soon realised it was nothing like that.
In our first session, I remember looking at Lisa and thinking I didn’t even know her any more. It was like listening to a stranger and I felt desperate.
The counsellor was the catalyst for turning that around and getting us back to the happy place we’re at now. They are there to help, not judge you.
Changing things isn’t easy but with their help you can do it together.
I feel like Lisa and I learnt so much about each other and ourselves – I only wish we had got help sooner.
If your car breaks down you’d take it to a mechanic and if your heating breaks you’d call a plumber.
Relationships are no different. If it’s broken don’t be scared of getting professional help to fix it.
Please know that when you come to counselling as an individual or a couple:
- you do not have to say or do anything you do not want to say or do
- you can tell the therapist when something is awkward or uncomfortable
- it is part of the counsellor’s role to ensure that the session occurs in a way that adjusts and accomodates to your style of talking and processing
- you have the right to ask questions at any time in the therapy to understand the direction or the goals or anything else in therapy
- you have the ability to let the therapist know “how you roll”…that you like to just talk, that you like more questions from the therapist, or whatever
- you can give the therapist feedback about what you think you need to make the process more successful and more tolerable
The therapist will have ideas about how to talk about things…it is, after all, our job to work with you on this. But counselling is a collaborative process that takes your personal style as an important factor in shaping the therapy to make it work well for you.