Approaching a counsellor can seem a very daunting prospect. I remember my trepidation on making a call to a counsellor for the first time and my nervousness on my way to my first ever appointment. The thought of focussing on the most painful aspects of my life – and to a complete stranger – was almost enough to make me turn back and run for shelter.
And all this for what benefit? At the time counselling was something I knew so little about that I had no idea whether putting myself through it would make any positive difference to my life.
Years on from that first experience and having trained and qualified as a counsellor myself I can still recall that trepidation whenever I meet someone seeking the professional help of a counsellor for the first time and I find myself questioning what might help make the experience of approaching a counsellor easier.
I wish I had known beforehand of the warmth that can be experienced with a counsellor. It is strange how a professional relationship that can be so challenging is also so caring.
I wish I had known how understood I would feel from having someone fully listening to me; and how comforted and valued I could feel from someone working hard to understand what it is like to see the world through my eyes.
I wish I had known how rewarded I would be from taking risks to show my real self, by feeling so accepted by another without judgement; and how encouraged I would be from that experience to be more self-accepting and kinder to myself, and to see myself more of a person of worth and value.
There is no short cut in the work – the more risks we take, the greater the potential for growth. But what would become of a seed if it didn’t find the courage to move beyond the darkness to grow and stretch out into the light and warmth of the sun?
Whilst by its nature of focussing on life’s difficulties and tragedies counselling will never be easy work, little did I know how safe I would feel at the same time. Little did I know years ago, on facing my fears on my way to my first counselling session, how I was not leaving my shelter but actually moving towards it.
Rachel is a Humanistic Counsellor with a BA (Hons) in Counselling and a Foundation Degree in Humanistic Counselling; both of which are BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) accredited courses.