Starting Counselling Is Hard

In my experience there is a common set of steps that people go through when pondering counselling.

Before I start let me state very clearly that counselling is NOT the be all and end all, it is NOT a one size fits all issues, and it's certainly NOT for everyone.

BUT ... when you find that life gets you down, and things seem hard or tough, perhaps people are stupid, obnoxious or daft, and you feel that you've had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough, then perhaps counselling could help.

So, those steps I have seen and experienced:
  1. I don't need counselling
  2. I wouldn't even know how to start
  3. I tried it once, it's was ok I s'pose
  4. I think I might give it another go
  5. I'm still not sure about this
  6. I'm getting something out of it
Some people go through all six steps in one session. These are the, probably, the lucky ones.

I wouldn't presume to discuss step 1 with you, this is between you, your pets, your gods, and whatever else happens within your head.

Step 2 is a logistical one.
How do you go about getting counselling Come to think of it, what actually is counselling? What happens at a counselling? Who are counsellors? Do I have to come prepared to a first session Where would I even go?

All these questions and more are almost always answered by the websites of those offering counselling services - Google "counselling in my area".

Or, talk with your GP. 

Or, get curious with your friends that are open about having used or are using counselling services, ask them.

Be aware that Step 2 can be the blanket under which many of us hide. We recognise that maybe, just maybe, it might help but we're not comfortable yet actually doing it, or even admitting to ourselves that we "need it". The internal and societal concept of 'being broken', and/or, 'needing help', is not one we Kiwis are particularly happy dealing with - this is double for Kiwi men.

Step 3, we went along, we did it.


Here's where it can get tricky.

There are as many counselling approaches as there are counsellors. There are quite a few counselling frameworks (modalities if you wanna know the jargon) that these approaches fall under. Add into this brand new, never been done before recipe of you, your own unknowns, and the human requirement of making a trusting relationship with a brand new person, the counselor, and it is no surprise that this first time may not be quite as amazing as you had hoped.

Also, and this may seem so obvious when you read it but it's commonly forgotten, the thing your going to counselling for is probably quite hard, very emotional, and may bring forth a lot of raw and unnerving "stuff". 

Step 4, this is the wee break you must give yourself after the first session. Be proud you did it! 

However, before you leave it too late and don't go back (that's what I used to do, a lot), dive into step 5 and ask yourself:
  • Is this someone I can work with?
  • Does the way they work gell with me?
  • Can I be be 'ready' for the next session?
A good counselor will guide you with these, and even state that's the goal for the first session. It's good to know that these are questions for both of you as the counsellor will also be asking themself the same.

If your answer is a definite no to any then my advice is look around for someone else. The session one counselor can/should be able to help you.

I'd also watch out for "nice" conversations, ones I call "coffee conversations" as they can lull you into a sense that work is happening, but it's not really. Save your money, counselling is not cheap, and have a catch-up with a mate instead.

After that you're on your way, a lot of work to do, it'll never be easy, however I suspect you'll change for the best. 

One last thing, it is "work". It should feel like work, it will be tough, take a lot of energy, and you will have times when it feels like actual bloody work. Stick with it.

Good luck and all power to those taking themselves seriously and want a better life.
Butterfly, looks like it's walking with the weight of the world upon it's shoulders


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