Counselling takes time. Firstly taking an hour or sometimes more out of your week to go and meet with a counsellor. Finding a time that is suitable for both of you can be difficult.
Then it takes time to see the benefits of counselling. It can be a slow process. How come I don’t feel amazing after one session? How long is this going to take?
There is no easy answer to how long counselling will take. Think about how long you’ve been alive and how long it’s taken you to build your personality, habits, behaviours and ways of relating to others. It can take time to explore all of these aspects and unpick them and if desired change them. It also depends on what you are bringing to therapy and what you want from therapy. The more you want to explore and uncover the longer it will take. It also takes time to build trust with your therapist, and it takes trust to be able to fully open up and explore the more difficult aspects of ourselves.
In my experience most people notice some change around the 4 to 8 week mark and at this point start seeing some benefits and have a better understanding of what they want to get from counselling and how long it may take.
Having Counselling is work, sometimes hard and difficult work. It takes effort to fully commit to the therapeutic process, to open up and explore difficult emotions and situations. That’s a hard thing to do. Examining our lives and who we are can be very hard, sometimes we might not like what we find and it can take a lot of energy and effort to not shy away from those parts of ourselves. Ultimately the more effort you put in to the counselling process the more you’ll get from it.
The therapeutic process is full of emotions. The effort and work put in to counselling can bring up some difficult emotions. Exploring challenging parts of our lives can bring those emotions to the surface. It can be hard to let these emotions surface and resist forcing them back down.
Who wants to feel sad, scared, anger or anxious?
Who wants to put themselves through a process where you feel these emotions?
Emotions are often seen as good or bad, positive or negative. We are often told by society and people around us to focus on positive emotions and to suppress negative emotions. Emotions are neither good or bad, they are how we feel. If we ignore or push down our emotions they don’t go away, in fact they can often get worse. By exploring these emotions in therapy we can discover what is making us feel this way, what these emotions are trying to telling us. We can also learn how to express these emotions in a constructive and appropriate manner. Counselling gives you the space to express all of your emotions and feelings in a contained space, allowing you to understand them, work with them and gain from them.
Breaking down Defences
Ever heard of defence mechanisms. We all have them and most of the time they are useful and help protect us in our day to day lives as we face the world, but sometimes the become too much and over used to the point that they block us from connecting with others and living our lives fully.
Ever heard things like “He hides behind humour”, “She’s in denial”, these might be situations where the defences are too rigid.
Discovering and breaking down our defences is incredibly tough. We’ve built them up over our entire lives. Softening our defences can leave us feeling vulnerable and exposed. That’s a challenging place to be, but if our defences are no longer serving us well then it may need to happen. Counselling exposes these defences and often challenges them. It gives us a space where we can explore our defence and be vulnerable, allowing us to learn what defences we are using and how to use them to help us, not hinder us.
Why Counselling? Often it’s because something isn’t right, something needs to change. Change is difficult. Change can be scary. It’s easier to stick with what we know, to stay in or comfort zones. We’ve built our lives, habits, ways of being over a life time, to change is to lose something. Counselling lets you explore what changes you want to make. To find what’s best for you. To understand why you act in certain ways and feel certain things and how you might want to change these to help you live more fully. It takes time and honesty. Honesty with your counsellor and honest with yourself.
Counselling is difficult. It’s hard. It takes effort. Ultimately it’s worth all the difficulty, struggle and dedication.
Counselling helps build resilience, promotes self awareness and helps you gain understanding of yourself and other.
If you think it’s time to give yourself the time and space to learn about yourself and find out how you can live a fuller life please get in touch.