Jill Cook BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor
Counselling is a word we hear bandied around quite often these days and it can have many interpretations. When I am asked what I do for a living, sometimes my reply is greeted with the question Parish Council, Dorset County Council? As I try to explain what I do, there can be confusion over the difference between therapeutic counselling and advice and information giving such as legal or debt counselling.
My role as a therapeutic counsellor is to provide a safe, confidential place in which an individual feels able to explore whatever it is that is troubling them. That exploration can be a challenging experience, especially if you are willing to talk about and face up to thoughts and behaviours which you have held for some time. It can be painful to allow yourself to experience emotions which may have been bottled up for a while but liberating to realise that there are different ways of managing difficulties can which lead to a less stressful existence.
Making the choice to contact a counsellor can be a big decision. Our culture has not, historically, been one in which we have shared thoughts and feelings freely, so to make an appointment with a stranger and sit for an hour being the centre of attention can feel very strange.
My aim, right from the first telephone call or e mail connection is to make the process as warm and welcoming as possible. I aim to be as genuine as I can be, not making judgements about you and trying to get as close to understanding what it is like to be in your world with its difficulties and joys. It is from this relationship that the change happens. I might challenge some things that you say, trying to understand what is going on for you and why you find them hard to manage. We then may explore how you might do things differently.
The number of sessions individuals need may vary. Some people come once and decide it’s not for them. Others may have a few sessions and feel that they have got what they need to manage the current situation and some may have sessions over a long period of time, perhaps addressing long held emotions or taking support during a difficult period in their life. Each person who comes though my door is different. We all react differently to similar situations and I need to be aware of that and not have expectations of how an individual might behave.
During my counselling career I have worked with individuals from 5 years old to 89 years. Whatever your age, counselling can provide a relationship within which you have the opportunity to make changes in your life. It can be a place where you can learn more about yourself and how you relate to others so that you so that you can live it in a more satisfying way.
BACP Snr Accredited Counsellor