Preparing for individual counselling

Engaging in counselling is about personal growth and development. It has the potential to bring about change that enhances your life. As human beings we all go through life experiencing things that both enhance and test us. Often those external personal attributes we present to the world are our armour and perceived strengths. What we feel on the inside and often keep from others, including sometimes ourselves, are those internal conflicts that are our own unresolved or unrecognised potential.

It is those very conflicts that hold the possibility of us becoming more than we currently are. Acknowledging that you are stuck, in an emotionally difficult place or that your life is unfulfilled with a lack of direction presents you with possibilities. That is the possibility of change, to be, act and think differently than you do currently.
To get the most out of therapy requires you to be actively involved in the process and ultimately the outcome.
Know what you want to change i.e. what do you want to move away from and leave behind and what you want to replace it with, where you want to move toward i.e. your ideal outcome.

This can be coming to terms with loss and enabling the natural grieving process to take its course, it might be about living in a state of depression and lifting the mental yoke that weighs you down or it could be you find yourself in an impossible situation where you can’t go forwards and you can’t go back so that a new direction is necessary.

Why are you going to therapy now, at this time, what is different from other times. Identify your motivating force for change. This is an important ally to hold onto. Equally consider what you might do to sabotage yourself when things get tough. What might you do and when, so that you justify again as you have done in the past why you don’t see it through and reach your goals.


In therapy

Ask those questions that you have whether it’s about therapy, the therapist or your situation. Building up the trust is an important facet of therapy. You can ask or state anything you need to. Sharing your fears, dreams, shame and hopes with the therapist who continues to accept you without criticism or judgement is the first step in being able to accept yourself.

Allow yourself to feel and experience what is happening to you. Sometimes this is difficult and so instead rationalising, intellectualising and justifying the situation. This only distances the uncomfortable aspects of yourself from the here and now self. A form of protection from the pain that only succeeds in orphaning part of yourself. This can add to and prolong the torment of not being whole.

Own the situation. Use the word ‘I’ when describing the impact. When we blame others and demand they change we are disempowering ourselves. Why? Because we are then being dependent on others changing and they have to want to do so. We are therefore giving our personal power to others over whom we have no control.

Recognise your own skills and abilities. This can sometimes be threatening because we may want someone to rescue us, to take care of and protect us. When first engaging in therapy it’s sometimes difficult to perceive our positive attributes especially those ones that can help us lead healthy, positive and self-sufficient lives. Work with the therapist to identify and utilise these attributes.

Sometimes the situation cannot be changed. Everything comes to an end and passes, be it loved ones, relationships or situations. With your therapist recognise the hurt, pain and sometimes guilt of the loss. Learn to accept and live with what it has taught you. It takes courage to let go and move forwards so as to start living again.

The biggest challenges are when there are issues with the relationship with self. How you feel and think about yourself. Explore this with the therapist. Break the cycle by being compassionate to yourself, nurture yourself, put yourself first – it’s not being selfish – it’s attributing self worth and value. Query and challenge that negative internal dialogue, share it with your therapist so they can help reduce the criticism. Have fun, be creative and seek new experiences. Learn to live positively in the here and now.

New Directions Solutions counselling can help you get to where you want to be.