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What happens in counselling and psychotherapy?

Counselling and psychotherapy are both processes of talking over difficult and sensitive issues in a confidential setting with a trained professional therapist or counsellor.

The aim of the process is to promote change, although the nature of this change will vary from person to person, depending on the issues they bring, the circumstances of their lives and their goals and aspirations. Defining the aim of the process is one of the first things that the counsellor and the client will do together.

Some people will have one specific issue/other kinds of issues, might have a definite goal of reducing or stopping their behaviour; someone else might be seeking relief from dominating emotional moods such as depression, anger, fear, jealousy or anxiety. I often use a practical, solution-focussed integrative psycho dynamic approach in such cases, sometimes incorporating cognitive-behavioural strategies if the client is open to this way of working.


Definition of Counselling

Counselling: is an interactive learning process contracted between counsellor(s) and client(s), be they individuals, families, groups or institutions, which approaches in a holistic way, social, cultural, economic and/or emotional issues.

Counselling may be concerned with addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, improving relationships, developmental issues, promoting and developing personal awareness, working with feelings, thoughts, perceptions and internal or external conflict. The overall aim is to provide clients with opportunities to work in self-defined ways, towards living in more satisfying and resourceful ways as individuals and as members of the broader society.

(EAC definition of counselling adopted AGM 1995)

“If I can provide a certain type of relationship the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth and change and personal development will occur.”

Carl Rogers : on becoming a person