Q. What is counselling?
Counselling is the opportunity to discuss your thoughts and feelings about any issue that you face in every-day life that you may wish to explore and understand better, in a professional and confidential setting, with a qualified and competent counsellor, over a period of time. It is a collaborative process in which you as the expert in your life, gain greater awareness and find your own answers.
Q. Who is it for?
Counselling is for everybody. Every human being has a basic right to have access to a trained professional who can help us in our overall growth and wellbeing. Even counsellors need counselling! Therefore anybody with a willingness to explore any area of life can benefit from meeting a counsellor.
Q. How does it work?
Counselling is a continuous process where a counsellor uses a psychological framework to facilitate insight and awareness to help you discover your own answers. This process takes anywhere between 4-20 sessions depending upon your needs. Each session lasts for 1 hour. You can start by fixing an appointment with a TalkItOver counsellor after which the counsellor will give you subsequent appointments after each session.
Q. Will the information I share be kept as a secret?
Yes. All information that you share will be kept confidential. This is an extremely important ethical guideline for a counsellor where no information can be disclosed to another person without your consent. Therefore you can be confident that what you share will be kept as a secret. Every counsellor at TalkItOver is ethically bound to maintain confidentiality except in situations where there is risk of self-harm, harm to others or child abuse.
Q. What are the qualifications of the counsellor?
Every counsellor at TalkItOver comes with a minimum of an MSc degree in Counselling psychology, with a specialization in Family & Marriage counselling along with 250 hours of counselling internship experience in individual, couples, group or family counselling. Besides some of the counsellors also bring with them rich corporate experience in varied functions such as HR, Marketing, Training & Development from well known IT companies.
Q. Is counselling a professional service?
Yes, counselling at TalkItOver is a professional service. By professional we mean, we follow BACP, APA and ACA guidelines for counselling practice and are accountable to maintain professional standards in everything we do. This is core to TalkItOver, as counselling in India seems to be offered by any and everybody, with or without professional training, claiming to be ‘counsellors’.
Q. What is the setting in which counselling takes place?
The setting is private, confidential and professional. Every TalkItOver counsellor practices in a professional and private setting designed for individual, couples, group and family counselling. Professional counsellors are ethically bound to practice in a professional setting and not in a coffee shop or any other informal setting.
Q. What is the process of meeting a TalkItOver counsellor?
Once you’ve decided to meet a TalkItOver counsellor, you can book an appointment by clicking here
. You will see a list of counsellors and their profiles. It is recommended to choose a counsellor at a preferred location as it will reduce commute time since counselling is a continuous process. Follow the step by step instructions in the online booking form to book an appointment.
Q. How do I book an appointment?
To book an appointment, follow the below steps:
Go to the ‘Book an appointment’ page:
Step 1 – Select a counsellor
Step 2 – Select a preferred time slot from the available time slots
Step 3 – Confirm personal details
Step 4 – Pay 60% of the session fee to book a slot
Step 5 – Meet the counsellor and pay the remaining 40% of the fee
Step 6 – Decide next appointment directly with your counsellor and payment for future sessions can be given directly to your counsellor
It is important to note that your details during the booking process will remain strictly confidential.
Q. What if I see no available slots?
Counsellors usually update their available slots on a daily basis. When an existing client terminates or when cancellations take place, new slots are added. We recommend you to check for availability after a day or two, or write to email@example.com for an update of the next available slot.
Q. What are the next steps after booking an appointment?
After booking an appointment, you will receive a confirmation email and sms. The confirmation email will provide the address, route map and contact details of your counsellor. You can then visit your counsellor for a face to face counselling session and pay the remaining fees directly. At the end of the session, your counsellor and you can decide on future sessions and all transactions will be made directly with your counsellor after the first session.
Q. What is the process for booking future sessions with my counsellor?
Your counsellor will discuss subsequent sessions with you where you will be given the next appointment directly by your counsellor. Subsequent fees need to be made directly to your counsellor.
Q. Can I bring a friend, parent, child or sibling along?
A friend, parent or sibling are not allowed in the counselling session as the process is strictly confidential. A child may be allowed only for family counselling sessions provided the child is above 12 years of age. Children below 12 years are not allowed during couples counselling sessions. If it is a child/adolescent counselling session, parents can accompany the child/adolescent and the counsellor will appropriately guide the parents to be part of the session for a few minutes or in some cases, for the whole session.
Q. Are counsellors advice givers and problem solvers?
No, this is an inaccurate understanding of the role of counsellors. Counsellors are NOT advice givers or problem solvers rather they are professionals trained with skills and competencies that facilitate an individual to gain awareness, growth and transformation through a warm & understanding relationship. There is no magic solution or specific advice. Every individual and their life situation is unique and therefore there can never be a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Q. Is counselling mainly for hospital and school settings?
No, it is a stereotype that counselling can be beneficial only for school and hospital settings. As a service, counselling can be beneficial in any setting at a individual, organization, workplace and community level
Q. What is difference between a counsellor, psychologist and psychiatrist?
Since there is no professional body or association for counselling in India yet, there is a lot of confusion between the role of a counsellor as distinct from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. While all of these approaches may treat similar issues, they may differ in their philosophy and focus. Counsellors and psychologists typically focus on the psychological, emotional and sociological aspects of helping a person grow. Psychiatrists typically focus on the biological aspects of a problem.
Q. What happens if the counsellor gets affected by what I share?
Counsellors are trained to feel with the client and not feel for the client. A counsellor who may get affected by what the client is sharing may need to work through his/her own issues with his/her personal counsellor. Professionally trained counsellors learn the skills and coping mechanisms to be objective and empathetic with clients and not sympathetic and emotionally involved.
Q. Does the religion of the counsellor matter?
The counsellor works with an open, neutral and non-judgemental attitude working to understand the person from their socio-cultural context and religious background. As part of their training, counsellors have been exposed to various religions and worldviews, so as to be relevant and understand clients from their own religion and worldview. Counsellors are ethically bound to not enforce their personal religious beliefs to clients.
Q. Is the counselling based on any religion?
Counsellors attempt to understand and relate to your own religion and worldview in order to help you better without enforcing their own religious views. However, professional counselling is based on psychological schools of thought that are scientific in nature and not necessarily on religious frameworks
Q. What if I become dependent on the counsellor for everything?
Since counselling does not mean advising, counsellor dependence may be unlikely. Infact the counselling relationship will help you to help yourself, therefore enabling you to become more true to yourself, more accepting of yourself and more self reliant.
Q. What are the benefits of counselling?
In our experience, after counselling, people have shared that they “feel lighter”, “gain clarity”, “learn more about themselves and others”, “feel less stuck or overwhelmed”, “feel energized”, “feel good, positive and hopeful”, “take decisions and actions”, “see positive changes”, “improve relationships” and so on. This is often possible because the counsellor is neutral and objective while working with you.
Q. How long is the process of counselling?
Counselling is a continuous process, based on your needs and goals. Typically it could last anywhere between 4-20 sessions. Counsellors and clients decide together about the time of appointment and the no. of sessions. Usually they are 1 hour sessions, on a weekly basis.
Q. How much do I need to pay?
The fees will be communicated to you once you fix an appointment. However you might benefit from knowing that TalkItOver is a community interest company therefore the cost of counselling will be fair and reasonable.
Q. Where do I meet a counsellor?
TalkItOver counsellors practice in various locations. You can choose a counsellor in your preferred location. Visit the contact us page to know the various locations
Q. How can a third person (who doesn’t know me) help me out with my problem?
The reason counselling is effective is because the counsellor is a third person. This enables the counsellor to be neutral, objective and non-judgemental of you. It is unethical for counsellors to provide professional counselling to their friends or relatives as they may not be neutral and objective with them.
Q. What if my problems may not be heard or understood correctly?
Professional counsellors are trained with skills and competencies to listen, attend, observe, focus, reflect and interpret in a facilitative process with you. The counsellor will also facilitate insight and awareness such that you understand your own struggles better and come up with your own answers in collaboration with the counsellor.
Q. What will others think of me if I decide to meet a counsellor?
Since counselling is misunderstood in our country, it is valid to ask this question. However, through this website we hope to educate the general public and create awareness about what counselling truly is, so that the stigma attached to it may go away. We dream of a day where people see counselling in a positive light, as a way to enhance their personal growth and wellbeing.
Q. What is true for others need not be true for me, isn’t it?
True, this is why counsellors rarely work from an advice giving or solution providing mode. Each person’s background, context, personality, beliefs, situation and culture is unique therefore TalkItOver counsellors work from every person’s unique needs and goals, never generalizing an approach to suit everyone.
Q. What if the counsellor is prejudiced or biased?
Counsellors are ethically bound to be unbiased, non-judgemental and neutral. However counsellors are human too, and if any bias comes across, they are required to work on their biases with their supervisor.
Q. Counselling seems like a western approach, how will it work in India?
Counselling is neither western or eastern. It is beyond culture and religion. Counselling, by definition, works with the individual’s own culture and background and the basic principles of counselling are universal therefore can be applied to people from all cultures.
Q. Is it a continuous process?
Yes, it is a continuous process based on the needs and goals of the individual. Effective counselling is impossible in 1 or 2 sessions. Typically it lasts between 4 – 20 sessions
Q. When I meet a counsellor, where do I start?
You may be wondering where to start, but the good news is that the counsellor usually starts talking first. The counsellor may start by introducing him/herself, making you feel comfortable and explaining how it works, clarifying any questions you may have and generally make you feel accepted, comfortable and understood. You could start sharing whenever you are ready.
Q. How will the counsellor know my context?
The counsellor will get to know your context by understanding you family background, cultural background, religious background, beliefs and worldview. This will be a continuous process where the counsellor will continue to understand your point of view, from your worldview and help you accordingly.
Q. What if the counsellor provides wrong advice?
Since counsellors don’t provide any advice, there is no scope of ‘wrong advice’. The counsellor at best could provide suggestions or recommendations, at a much later stage in counselling, where he/she has understood your context and situation very well. However, any suggestion made by a counsellor cannot be forced upon you. It is up to you to consider it or not.
Q. What is the counsellor’s role?
The counsellor’s role is to create a warm and accepting relationship where you will feel comfortable to talk about anything you wish you. Based on what you share, the counsellor will attempt understanding your life and facilitate self exploration, insight and awareness, helping you reach your goals.
Q. What are the myths associated with counselling?
There are several myths. The most popular ones are these:
- Counsellors provide advice and specific solutions to your problems.
- Old people with little or no qualification are better counsellors than younger people with qualification
- Life experience in a counsellor is more important than professional training in counselling skills
- Counsellors use their opinion, intuition and beliefs to help clients
- Counselling is an art and not a science
- Counsellors are perfect and they don’t need counselling themselves
- Counsellors primarily work with career guidance and addiction
- Anybody with a passion and interest in counselling is called a counsellor