You’ve decided it’s time to seek some support through counselling. Life has taken a strange turn, you’re in the midst of transitions, you’ve been feeling a bit off, or you have some things you need to work out. You either decided yourself that you would like to see a counsellor, your doctor may have recommended it, or a family member/friend may have suggested it. It’s daunting, isn’t it? First off, just simply coming to terms with the idea of reaching out for help can be quite difficult. Then going through the process of finding the right counsellor for you – what are you supposed to look for? Finally, after working up the nerve to set up an appointment, your day arrives to meet your counsellor. It’s nerve-wracking, but you make it to the appointment and are open to the experience. The experience of sitting in front of a complete stranger and discussing the most intimate parts of your life. It may initially seem a bit uncomfortable, but once you take a few deep breaths and fall into conversation, it comes naturally.
As counsellors, we do ask for a lot from our clients. We are asking you to share your story with us so we can help you navigate through your journey with insight and awareness. We are also aware of how challenging the process can be before the therapy even starts! We do our best to help ease this anxiety so we can begin building trust. If you’re having trouble opening up or are feeling anxious, be honest with your counsellor about this so you both can find a way to work with this instead of running from it. It’s so important to note that we may have expertise in counselling, but you hold the expertise of your own life. It’s a collaborative approach between the counsellor and the client – the alliance between client and counsellor is key.
We hear from a lot of clients that they are embarrassed to talk about certain things or they may feel ashamed of discussing certain experiences. For comparison sake let’s say that you’re having a physical health concern – you have rash in a private area and you’re embarrassed to show your doctor. Since you’re feeling this embarrassment or shame, you put off seeing your doctor and the rash starts getting worse. You finally take the leap, show your doctor, and realize that he or she doesn’t seem the least bit weirded out by what you’ve got going on! What a relief! Trust us when we say it’s very much similar to you coming in to discuss some difficult and private things with a counsellor. This is what we are trained for and the process will only work if we are able to work through those barriers until you feel comfortable being completely open and honest. We aren’t listening intently so we can secretly judge you; we are listening to understand and provide support.
It takes a lot of courage to come see a counsellor. It isn’t easy being vulnerable enough to let someone peek into the windows of your life. But, it is most definitely worth it. We became counsellors because we want to help and we would be honored to take this journey with you.