At its heart, counselling is all about relationships: your relationship with your counsellor; your relationship with the people (both currently and formerly) in your life; and, most crucially, your relationship with yourself. By becoming aware of the nuances of these relationships, scrutinizing them, understanding them, it is possible to learn why you feel the way you do in a given moment. Armed with this newfound self-awareness, you can begin to make changes which can, with practice, help your relationships become more fulfilling.
Early sessions tend to focus on the here-and-now: what brought you to counselling?; what triggered these thoughts/feelings?; what effects are they having on your moment-to-moment existence?; and, what support/tools do you have that might make life more manageable? Later sessions dig a little deeper, exploring the underlying beliefs and experiences upon which these thoughts/feelings are built. Think of this like an archaeological excavation: only by uncovering lower layers, one by one, can we truly understand why the surface looks the way it does.
The aim, by the time counselling draws to a close, is for you to be able to challenge the feelings that have been holding you back. In essence, you become your own counsellor.
Now, this is not always an easy process--indeed, at times it can be downright hard--but a good counsellor walks your journey with you, and stands by you as you face those hardships.
Key to this whole process is safety, both physical and emotional. Every counselling relationship is based on trust, and our counsellors commit to keeping everything you say confidential; you can talk completely freely, without fear of your thoughts or feelings being passed on. The only exception to this would be if we had serious concerns about your safety, or that of a third party. At no point will we tell you what you 'should' do or how you 'should' feel; we are companions, not instructors. But we will be there for you at this difficult time in your life.
Sometimes, that's all it takes.