There are countless reasons for a person to seek out counselling. Maybe you’re going through a break up, dealing with the death of a loved one, seeking to heal from childhood trauma, wishing to find peace in your relationships, or wanting to understand yourself and others in more depth. Something I want you to know is that initiating the first step in seeking counselling help is the beginning of your healing process. Seeking help sets the foundation and creates the momentum for the path you and your counsellor travel down. Essentially you are empowering yourself in this first step.
So what happens next and how do you know if it’s “working”? There are a few key things to keep in mind as you check in with your counselling process, and a few key things to (try to) let go of.
Keep in mind:
· The therapeutic relationship between you and your counsellor is very important. You should feel a sense of hope, the beginnings of trust, and a curiosity about the process you are beginning. Some have described themselves as feeling "lighter".
· Ask questions about your counsellor’s approach. This is important because it will give you an idea of their philosophy of care and how they express their healing gifts.
· Counselling can be a deeply healing tool to accent your life. It can offer you doors to open; sometimes the process can be very painful while simultaneously liberating and your counsellor is there to assist you in this process.
· Keep going to counselling until it feels like you need a break or time to integrate what you’ve learned. Talk about this with your counsellor – they should never pressure you to keep coming if the process feels complete for you.
Let go of:
· The idea that counselling will fix you. I’m here to tell you there is nothing wrong with you – but that perhaps your habits, perceptions and ways of coping with challenging experiences or trauma have become maladaptive. Counselling will bring you more peace and acceptance for who you are.
· The idea that counselling is a quick remedy for what you’re going through. True change and shifts take time, so be patient with the process and yourself.
· The idea there is a “right” and “wrong” way to approach counselling. Each person is different, and you are in charge of your own process.
Remember that you are the expert of your own life, and to a certain degree you get to choose which paths to follow or abandon and which doors to open to experience higher degrees of freedom and peace.
In my yoga classes I often quote Mark Nepo’s “The Book of Awakening”. Here is one of the quotes that has stuck with me:
“There is no expected pace for inner learning. What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over, no matter how many times we have to learn the same lesson. We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up. We fall in love as many times as we need to, to learn how to hold and be held…We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance.”
Trust in your process and know that the seeds of change you are seeking are within you. They may not appear as you initially thought they would, but extraordinary gifts await you as you take off down your healing path. If you have any questions about whether counselling is right for you, feel free to reach out – no strings attached.