Hacks to make the most of professional counselling
Updated: Jul 22, 2022
Ever wondered if or how a professional counsellor can help you help yourself? Here are a few simple suggestions to make the most out of your counselling investment.
Hack #1 Come as you are.
The initial counselling session is about building trust and connection with your counsellor. Come as you are! Be as honest as you can be. Try to be authentic and vulnerable. Ask questions. Establishing a connection for a collaborative alliance between you and your counsellor is one of the single most important predictors of good outcomes from your investment. Your counsellor will listen respectfully and non-judgmentally and offer you a safe space to allow you to express what is on your heart.
Hack #2 Stop judging yourself.
Let's remove the stigma about reaching out for counselling or mental health support. A qualified counsellor professional can support ordinary and diverse people going through ordinary, and sometimes, not so ordinary, life struggles. Human beings are not meant to do things alone. Connecting with another who will respect confidentiality and be compassionately objective can offer relief and hope during a difficult period in your life. Whether you want an objective perspective about a life decision, or to talk about the impact of a major life event or discuss relational challenges or if you are trying to navigate stress, anxiety or depression, counselling can be helpful for anyone.
Hack #3 Take responsibility for your well-being and resourcing.
People who are willing to acknowledge their problem and own their own part in it have already broken a barrier to their own well-being and can take back their power to create change. Counselling is not about self-blaming, or others blaming, but arming yourself with an important truth - you alone are responsible for your life and choices whatever else or whoever else is in your life. Your counsellor collaborates with you to focus on what you can do to empower and resource yourself rather than what you think others should change.
Hack #4 Be willing to try new skills.
If ever you have hired a personal trainer or a coach to learn a new sport then you know that trying a new skill feels odd and takes time. Working with your counselling professional sometimes means doing something different to break out of being 'stuck'. Of course, it can be experienced as uncomfortable but usually no more uncomfortable than the issue you come into counselling with. People benefit when they are curious and at least willing to experiment with trying new skills. Start with curiosity and if in any doubt ask.
Hack #5 Focus on what you need from counselling.
It is helpful to express negative feelings and patterns with a qualified counsellor professional. It can provide immense relief particularly for people who don't have opportunity to express their feelings or struggle to express their feelings. However, if the problem becomes a repetitive pattern of venting or rumination on negative thoughts about oneself, someone else or your life without focusing on underlying concerns, then it is likely to entrench the problematic issue and may make you feel even worse. Your counsellor professional will work with you to focus on what you need to make progress toward what you want to see for yourself and relationally.
Hack #6 Be honest with your feedback and sharing.
Your honest feedback of a single session or overall progress is important to tailor services to meet your needs. You do not need to be afraid of hurting your counsellor’s feelings. Your feedback allows an opportunity to reconvene if needed and consider alternatives to strategise counselling to be more effective for you.
To summarise, connecting with a qualified counsellor professional can be as normal as connecting with a GP for health check-ups. It is important to feel you can connect with your counsellor professional and build a collaborative relationship where you feel heard and respectfully assisted toward the direction that matters to you to maximise the outcomes you want to see.
All the best in your journey!
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