What is the process of counselling?

We’ve all heard stories about counselling. We have probably heard our families or friends say that counselling is only for mentally unsound individuals or that we should avoid going to counsellors unless it’s a crisis. Obviously, it raises many doubts in our minds about what to expect from a counsellor. Though we may need someone to talk to, we are not sure about who to meet or what a counsellor does. These doubts are valid and can only be cleared if we take some time to become aware of what counselling is and what it is not. This helps not only to clarify the myths that are attached to counselling. Morever, everyone has a right to know what happens in the counselling process.

Counselling is not a magical or mysterious service but a very real and people-oriented service. Listed below are the steps that actually occur when we meet a counsellor to help you understand what counselling is all about.

  1. We make the choice to go to a counsellor.
  2. We go to a counsellor after finding him/her online or through word of mouth.
  3. The counsellor and the client meet.
  4. This is the stage in which a counselling relationship is built: the client and counsellor meet for a session and get to know each other more. The client decides whether the counsellor is the right fit for them or not. The counsellor uses this opportunity to understand the client better.
  5. At this stage, the counsellor will take important details of the client (like the client’s personal, family and job history) and explain the counselling process and its guidelines. The counsellor will also establish confidentiality of the sessions.
  6. After the initial stage is complete, the actual counselling session begins. A good counsellor is someone who listens, does not judge and who helps the client feel understood.
  7. During the counselling process, the client talks about his/her problem and the counsellor asks questions and listens as the client narrates his/her story.
  8. A counselling session lasts anywhere between forty five minutes to an hour. The counsellor decides (sometimes with the client) how many sessions are necessary to help the client with the problem at hand.
  9. The counsellor and client together chart a plan of action so that they can work together to take productive action.
  10. Since counselling is a two-way process, the client also has to commit to the counselling process and what it requires him/her to do.
  11. The counsellor spends time guiding the client to arrive at a solution for the problem without advising or suggesting possible solutions. Sometimes, the goal of counselling might also be to increase self-awareness, insight or personal growth.
  12. Once the plan of action has been implemented or change has occurred which the client is comfortable with, the counselling process is terminated.
  13. Counsellors can call for follow-up sessions to check if the client is doing well and is progressing as per plan. If not, these follow-up sessions are used to work with the client some more if he/she is still having trouble functioning.

To understand more about counselling and become aware of  the various benefits of this service,  you can avail this opportunity to seek information and help from TalkItOver, an organization of professional counsellors, which provides individual, couple and family counselling.