Counseling is a special relationship built on confidentiality, mutual respect and open communication, with the intention of helping people to clarify and identify their problems and to find their own solutions. It is about empowering the client to make their own decisions; it is not advice giving or offering sympathy.
Many people may use counseling skills as part of their work, but the counseling relationship is quite different, as it entails commitment and clear boundaries. The principle behind counseling is that it helps enormously to share problems with someone who is there to listen and try to understand how things are for you, the client.
The counselor is unbiased and there to offer support and strength during emotional times. More importantly they can help you unravel the reasons behind issues such as depression, substance abuse and low self-esteem, or come to terms with childhood pain caused by bereavement or sexual abuse.
Counseling is a process during which you will come to know yourself, to understand why you engage in the same destructive behaviour or repeat the same patterns, it is a journey of self discovery which can be painful and difficult, but the end result is a more fulfilling and enlightened life.
There are many different forms of counseling, each with different ideas about how the human psyche has developed and different ways of working with issues. Therapy is more short-term that concentrates on one issue and tries to find ways of solving this, good for work problems and relationship issues.
Humanistic counselors place great importance on the relationship between client and counselor and believe in the essentially positive nature of human life, they tend to work more creatively and are more client orientated.
What Happens in Counseling?
In a typical session you would meet with your therapist to decide whether counseling is what you need and also whether you feel you could work together. It is important if you are going to be able to share personal aspects of your life with the counselor, that you feel a connection and warmth as well as trust and confidence. Counseling is suitable for most people and most problems, providing you really want to change your life and are willing to experience some emotional turmoil along the way.