For those of you who have, or plan to opt in to receive counselling this relationship is one of authenticity, non judgment, confidentiality and support. You find that many people who opt in for counselling settle for long term counselling for the ongoing support as well as stating that it is a time they were able to use to share and felt listened to.
It is a relationship that allows the client who may not feel comfortable talking to friends and family, come and share in the sessions and leave with a solution that they were supported to eventually find. However it is also important to mention that there are others who try counselling and feel as though it is not for them and so opt out. Counselling shouldn’t be assumed to be a one shoe fits all approach, because not everyone will opt to receive counselling.
But for those of you who do, it is a relationship that is built on trust and understanding with the counsellor, the client will see weekly, fortnightly, monthly. But as mentioned it would be the counsellors responsibility to provide the safe space for this to develop whilst using the counselling skills that will offer empathy to each client, the full understanding and respect.
As a counsellor it is a beautiful thing to see clients come in and grow through the process to the end of our time together, you are able to see the confidence built, how they see themselves change, their outlook on life deepen and a positive stance in life as opposed to the negative one they came in with.
It is not a relationship to be taken lightly and you have to be a people person to be able to support and help those who seek counselling. Once you are reminded of the fact that you are a stranger to each client, until the walls are broken, trust is built and respect is given it forms the foundation for the basis of a good strong helping relationship.
When you see people who came in literally looking like what they have been through, starting to take the steps to break free and break even, being kinder to themselves and embracing who they are is truly rewarding and special. For clients to let the counsellor in to their deep secrets, past and thoughts takes a lot and the struggle is there to share, but the warmth and support the counsellor offers can go a long way.
Dr. John Norcross, defined the therapeutic alliance as referring to “the quality and strength of the collaborative relationship between client and therapist, typically measured as agreement on the therapeutic goals, consensus on treatment tasks, and a relationship bond.” Along with empathy and genuineness, this alliance represents an integral part of the therapeutic relationship.
On a last note, will say that a good counsellor is one who is ethical in their approach, has an interest for their clients, is authentic and real in their approach to each client always remembering that each client doesn’t have a one shoe fits all approach.