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What is counselling?

"The term 'counselling' includes work with individuals and with relationships which may be developmental, crisis support, psychotherapeutic, …The task of counselling is to give the 'client' an opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways of living more satisfyingly and resourcefully" (British Association for Counselling 1984)

"Counselling denotes a professional relationship between a trained counsellor and a client. This relationship is usually person-to-person…is designed to help clients understand and clarify their views of their life space, and to learn to reach their self-determined goals through meaningful, well-informed choices and through resolution of problems of an emotional or interpersonal nature." (Burks and Stefflre 1979)

"A principled relationship characterised by the application of one or more psychological theories and a recognised set of communication skills, modified by experience, intuition and other interpersonal factors, to clients' intimate concerns, problems or aspirations." (Feltham and Dryden 1993)

Why choose counselling?

Sometimes we can feel unable to cope, depressed, anxious, and alone or facing some difficulty we cannot see our way out of. In today's world it is often difficult to find someone with the time and inclination to be a good listener. Someone who can help us work through the issues that are affecting our day-to-day lives. Counselling can also be beneficial for people who want to explore their own potential for personal change or growth.

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

Counselling can help you change and adjust to your current situation, empowering you to respond differently to stressful situations whether at home or work and is usually of a limited duration. Psychotherapy is normally a longer process, requiring the client to commit to working through the deeper issues that prevent them from achieving a fulfilling life.

What type of counselling/psychotherapy shall I choose?

Studies show that in 1986 there were more than 400 distinct models of counselling and psychotherapy (Karasu 1986). These lie within three main 'core' approaches of psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural and humanistic. What research has shown is that the approach chosen is secondary to the successful outcome of the counselling process. What is key to success is the relationship that is formed between client and therapist. What is more important then is finding the right therapist rather than the right 'school' of therapy.

How long will it take?

There is no easy answer to that question. It depends on many factors. It depends on the issues being explored, the length of time it takes for the relationship to form between client and therapist, how quickly the client is able to feel comfortable in expressing aspects of themselves an d their pasts. It depends on the pace that the client sets for the work and that with which they are comfortable.