Counselling is often described as a talking therapy. It may be talking therapy but it is more than just talk or being listened to. It is a unique experience and your own experience will be based on what you bring to the therapeutic space as well as what I bring.
Your counselling experience will differ from someone else’s but as a general rule I believe counselling works because it gives you the opportunity to express yourself openly about how you feel. This is particularly important when it is about feelings which usually cause you to fear being judged or rejected. Expressing all emotions is important and essential to our mental and physical health. There are no good or bad emotions, they are all equally valid. However, we can be led to believe from an early age that it is wrong to have or feel strong emotions. This means we often tend to keep many of our emotions closed off, even from friends and family. The problem with doing this is that we forget or deny what makes us happy or sad and therefore we do not know how to feel good any more or how to avoid getting into situations or circumstances that make us angry or upset.
Contrary to what we might hope, ‘bad’ feelings do not go away just because we do not talk about them – in fact they get worse. If we continuously suppress what we feel our moods are likely to become more explosive as time goes on leading to rages, depression, alcohol or drug abuse and/or reckless or obsessive behaviour. If we continually push our feelings down we begin to feel it in our body which reacts and affects our physical health too.
Being able to have a safe space in which to explore your emotions and feelings in counselling can be very liberating and bring about a sense of relief. Through counselling and understanding ourselves better we discover the tools to be able to manage our emotions and anxieties more easily, to see things in proportion to how they are, to stop repeating destructive patterns of behaviour, to make better choices and to bring more meaning and joy into our lives.
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