The BACP definition of counselling and psychotherapy is:
"Counselling and psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing."
Why people choose to have therapy
Usually individuals choose to have therapy because they are experiencing difficulties and distress in their lives. Sometimes people can be isolated but at other times, even where an individual has the most supportive family and friends, they can find it difficult if not impossible to explain why, for example, they may be feeling anxious and or depressed. Or it may be easier to talk about personal, family, or relationship issues with a person who is independent of friends and family. Other life issues and events which can be very difficult to deal with include bereavement, divorce, redundancy, health issues, bullying and so on. However, you do not have to be in crisis or on the verge of one, before choosing to have therapy. You may be experiencing underlying feelings of dissatisfaction with life in general, or be seeking balance in your life and spirituality. All of these reasons and more will bring individuals to therapy.
Confidentiality is essential in a therapy relationship as part of building trust. However, confidentiality is not absolute, and there are exceptions. Sometimes, in the public interest, counsellors may need to make a referral to an agency or organisation (for example GP, police or social services) when there is a serious risk of imminent harm to their clients or to others, for example where a client is seriously mentally ill and needs hospitalisation, or in cases of child or elder abuse. These referrals are usually (but not always) made with the client's knowledge and consent. This decision will depend on the particular circumstances of each client. There may be times when a therapist is required by law to break confidentiality, for example, about terrorist activities. It may also be a criminal offence to 'tip off' a client when such a disclosure has to be made. Disclosures may sometimes be made at the client's request, for example, where a client asks for help when they are the victim of abuse, or for an assessment or report to help with a court case involving a claim for damages by the client.
We will talk together in our first session and reach agreement about the limits of confidentiality for our work together. Therapists do not make telephone calls or engage in discussions about you to your GP, employer, partner, family members, friends or to other agencies to find out, clarify, or add to your personal information without your knowledge. This would be an absolute breach of confidentiality and trust. However there may be some circumstances when I therapist may be obliged to disclose information but I will discuss this with you when agreeing our contract. You may wish to ask me to contact your GP and/ or other agency, in which case you would agree and confirm the issues to be discussed between the counsellor and other named party, and this would not be a breach of confidentiality.
As a Person-Centred therapist I listen in such a way that is non-judgemental; I do not give you advice or tell you what to do but try to help you reach your own answers, outcomes and decisions. Every individual has an innate capability to realise their full potential. Counselling can provide the environment whereby you can connect with your own inner resources and develop the capacity to reflect upon and make your own choices in life, enabling you to overcome blocks to achieving health and well-being.
What Conditions Can it Help?
What Benefits can be Expected?
Counselling and therapy offer a variety of positive benefits which can enhance your life greatly. Exploring your thoughts with a professional, non-judgmental person can make you feel less alone and more able to sort out your thoughts in a productive way. When thoughts are disorganized, it can be challenging to make good choices: counselling is a collaborative and confidential relationship, which works to develop a realistic plan to help you move forward and grow to achieve the results you are looking for.
The benefits of counselling include a greater degree of self-awareness and understanding of yourself and others. This improves self-esteem, and becomes reflective in your personal relationships. Life feels more enjoyable and fun! You feel better about yourself and who you are. You have direction, goals, confidence, and are able to achieve them. Counselling does not have to be something you are ashamed of, but rather that you are proud of, because you want to lead a happy life! Which we all strive for. Psychological studies have shown empirical evidence which supports counselling, therapy, and its mental and physical health benefits.