It feels like there are so many demands on our time, energy and finances these days. What's more, the choices we have about how to use these valuable resources can feel overwhelming!
It seems like someone is always trying to sell us something, or convince us to invest in, or commit to some new scheme, course, or product, that promises to utterly transform our lives.
This seems particularly true in the world of health and wellbeing. There are so many different approaches, philosophies and techniques being heralded as the panacea for all our problems. How do we know which one- if any- to go for?
I am not here today to add to the clamour of voices; I'm not offering counsellingas a silver bullet. I can't tell you that it's a quick fix, or that it is guaranteed to make you feel better after x number of sessions. In fact, I have to be honest and let you know that it can be a long, painful, uncomfortable process which is not especially glamourous. Not a great selling point, I hear you cry!!!
Ok, so why on earth would anyone actually choose to do this? Well...maybe because it works?! The real secret to why, is that it offers a space for people to be vulnerable. And in the words of Brené Brown, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity". Who wouldn't want these things in their life?
So, what tangible differences might you start to notice in your life after starting counselling with a therapist who is the right fit for you? Here are my top ten:
1) You will feel understood and validated.
2) You will feel accepted as you are - warts and all.
3) You will become aware of emotions you are feeling, and be able to name them.
4) You will begin to understand why you are experiencing these emotions and what triggers them.
5) You will be able to tell, make sense of and own your story, in the presence of someone who really listens.
6) You will be able to untangle the knotty mess of thoughts and emotions, so they feel more manageable.
7) You will learn to trust yourself.
8) You will learn more about yourself- your likes, dislikes, desires, dreams, values, beliefs, habits, coping mechanisms.
9) You will develop resilience so that you can begin to make changes.
10) You will grow in confidence to express yourself, implement boundaries, say no (or yes) and much more!
I believe that counselling is most effective when it is seen in a holistic way. By that, I mean that it is just one strand among many regular habits and intentions- such as a healthy diet, exercise, connecting with others, practising gratitude- that help support mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health.
What's more, the work of counselling can have a deeper impact if it is continued between sessions. For instance, taking time to go for a walk by yourself, talking to a trusted friend about how you feel, or writing in a journal, all allow further processing and embedding to happen.
Therapy is not a journey to be taken lightly, but neither should its transformative power be underestimated!