What is counselling?

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) defines counselling and therapy as, “umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing.”

What happens in counselling?

Counselling provides time in a safe and confidential space to reflect on your life and relationships, the possibilities for change, and to clarify how best to move forward. Counselling generally begins with you having the opportunity to talk about your concerns. The emphasis is on developing a shared understanding of the issues you would like to address and then developing some specific goals that you would like to work towards achieving.

Counselling is a supportive, non-judgemental process that can go at your pace and focus on the things that are important to you such as finding a solution to a specific problem in the present, exploring your past experiences and coming to terms with past hurts, or making sense of your feelings and exploring the possibilities for changing in ways that will make things better and improve the quality of your life.

Is counselling right for me?

Counselling may help with the following issues, especially when attempts at self-help or the support from family and friends have not worked or is not available:

  • bereavement and loss
  • clarifying personal, career and life goals
  • coping with bullying
  • issues related to personal or sexual identity
  • redundancy or difficulties at work
  • life transitions (e.g. changing jobs; adjusting to health problems; retirement from work)
  • making an important decision
  • personal relationships (insecurity, jealously, communication problems)

Recommended reading

Kennedy, F. and Pearson, D. (2017) Get your life back: The most effective therapies for a better you. Robinson: London.

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