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  • Writer's pictureRuth Gorrie

The Benefits Of Counselling

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

From popping bubble wrap to a walk along a beach - there are many things in life that have therapeutic value, but counselling is quite unique in what it has to offer. Have you ever tried it? If you've ever wondered what all the fuss is all about and why people bother making that big investment, then here are 13 reasons I came up with that sound pretty good to me.


1. Having someone alongside you helping you to explore thoughts, feelings, experiences and behaviours

Often when we share with friends or family we explain how we're thinking or feeling and hopefully some support and care is offered. Then the other person might share their experiences or the conversation moves on to the next thing.


In counselling there is no need to rush onto the next thing, in fact the opposite is encouraged (providing the client is happy with it). Staying with that feeling or experience, exploring it: how it made you feel; your response to it; why you had that response; what you want to do with it, etc.


Exploration is one of the main things in counselling.


2. You can experiment with saying things you'd never normally dare verbalise
The Benefits Of Counselling. The Hope Room

In day-to-day life it's common to hold back from saying things we might think or feel.


This can be for a number of reasons: It may be culturally unacceptable; knowing others think differently; it may upset the other person; fear of it being misunderstood; in case it's used against you; because it hasn't gone well in the past; because the other person couldn't cope with hearing it; not wanting loved ones to worry; for a quiet life; fear of rejection; because it's hard to explain; it's not safe to; what if they think it sounds silly? etc.


None of those reasons matter in counselling. That's the whole point - it's a safe space to say whatever you want. You can experiment with saying what you couldn't say anywhere else and see how it feels. What does it bring up in you? How does it feel to say it?


You don't even have to know definitely what you think, you can just try saying something and see if it sits comfortably with you or not, if it feels right, or if you want to tweak it. Being able to experiment means you can crystallise your ideas and get clearer on them.


3. It's confidential

There are a lot of benefits of sharing with family, friends and colleagues, but one of the downsides can be that you can never be sure who it will be repeated too.


A definite plus of counselling is that it's completely confidential.


4. You can practice verbalising things

By having the freedom to fumble about with saying things out loud, getting it out, even if it feels jumbled and mixed up, even if you're not quite sure what it is you're trying to say, thoughts can come together and become more understood.


Often the first time you say it can be the hardest. It can be full of emotion, you can be battling other emotions in the process: guilt, shame, anger, fear of it coming out wrong, grief, etc.


By practicing in the counselling room: a safe space, with plenty of time and where your emotions can be held, people often report feeling more confident to then say some or all of it to other people in their life.


5. It's an hour just for you
The Benefits Of Counselling. The Hope Room

Bliss!


In a life that's likely busy with lots of demands it can be so good to have a space just for you.


No anecdotes or hearing anyone else's experiences.


This is one hour to talk without interruption.


Where else do we get that in life? It's a rare treat.


6. You don't have to worry about upsetting someone you love

I'm all for making yourself vulnerable to people you're close to, it's bonding and can disarm a lot of misunderstanding, hurt, resentment etc. Vulnerability is powerful. But there's definitely a time and a place, and sometimes the knowledge or worry of how it will affect them knowing your deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings, the worry and upset they'll feel for you, can leave people wanting to protect them from that and not 'burden' them.


Sometimes that's worth pushing through, but other times it can be a relief to be able to get your needs met without thinking about the impact on anyone else. We don't always have the energy for both.


That's when counselling can be great. There's no need to protect your counsellor in that way. They are trained to deal with it and they are neutral and supportive.


7. Your counsellor doesn't know anyone you're talking about

Counsellors don't tend to take on clients they know, who their paths would cross with, or when they know other important figures in that person's life.


The beauty of counselling is that the counsellor doesn't know the other people you're talking about. They don't know 'the other side' of the story. They hear it all from your experience and what it means to you.


There are no 'sides'. There is no prior or additional knowledge. It's separate to the rest of your life.


It's all about your experience, interpretations and perspective. It's about how it affects you.


There can be a great freedom in that - not having to guard what you say, not having to worry about it getting back to the others, not having to worry what anyone else has said. It's staying in the room and there are no outside influences.


8. It's a non-judgemental space

It can be hard to believe this. Counsellors are still human beings with thoughts and opinions too, right?


Yes we are, there's no denying it.


But we are also trained and believe in putting those aside, for the sake of really seeing and hearing a person and trying to understand what's going on for them and where they are coming from.


It's fundamental to our work. I cannot overemphasis the 'believe in' part of the sentence above.


To really hear another person, judgement needs to be left at the door.


9. It's great to be heard
The Benefits Of Counselling. The Hope Room

Even if we have people we can share with, it's one of those things that can end up getting squeezed out in our day to day life. Busyness can get in the way; it can be hard to find the right opportunity; we don't want to put on others; it can be hard to know how to start the conversation; or there are too many other things happening.


But there's nothing that compares to the feeling of really being heard.


10. Hearing things reflected back can be insightful
The Benefits Of Counselling. The Hope Room

Often counsellors may repeat back to you a little something you've said. It can be quite surprising and enlightening when we notice the choice of word or phrase we'd used without even realising it.


It's like the counsellor is holding up a mirror for you.


Our thoughts mostly live in our head, but when we hear them verbally rather than just in thought form, it can create quite a different feeling towards them and we can notice different things.


Having someone witness those thoughts and hearing observations on them can be insightful too.


11. It's a signal to yourself and others that you're worth it

Counselling is an investment.


An investment into yourself which will have an knock-on effect in your relationships, work, family, self-care and future.


It's a nod to yourself that you're worth the time and money. That your relationships are worthy of having a more healthy, healed, authentic you.


When we value ourselves, others will follow suit and value us to. And if they don't, that says a lot about them, which is worth reflecting on.


12. Finding the authentic you

Giving time to explore thoughts, feelings, experiences and behaviours; to sit with the uncomfortable; to look at what's going on for you, to process events; to share with another person; to peel back the layers; to acknowledge difficult things, examining yourself and your responses.


These are all part of growing in self-awareness and understanding.


They are part of the journey towards authenticity.


Lack of authenticity can lead to anxiety and depression.


13. Denying or supressing emotions can be damaging
The Benefits Of Counselling. The Hope Room

Suppressed emotions have a way of catching up with us one way or another.


If they can't be acknowledged and dealt with in a healthy way they'll find another way out.


A last resort might be through your body with physical ailments, migraines or gut problems being a couple of examples. Becoming numb to negative feelings can mean your ability to feel positive emotions is impaired too, alongside protecting you from the difficult bits.


Our emotions have a lot to say to us. We are really missing out if we choose to ignore them. I've done a whole blog on this is you're interested: https://www.thehoperoom.co.uk/post/our-emotions-have-a-lot-to-say-to-us


Acknowledging emotions can be overwhelming, but counselling should be a space where they can can be experienced in a safe, contained way.


Working with your emotions and listening to what they are trying to show you is part of the journey of self-awareness, finding your authentic self and living a life that you are happy with.


Worthy rewards, I'd say!


In Summary

Amongst other things, some of the benefits of counselling are:

- Having someone alongside you helping you explore thoughts, feelings and behaviours

- Experimenting with saying things you'd never normally dare verbalise

- It's confidential

- Practicing verbalising things

- It's an hour just for you

- Not worrying about upsetting someone you love

- Your counsellor doesn't know anyone you're talking about

- It's a non-judgemental space

- It's great to be heard

- Hearing things reflected back can be insightful

- It's a signal to yourself and others that you are worth it

- Finding the authentic you

- Denying or supressing emotions can be damaging


Is this an investment that might be beneficial to you?


There are loads of counsellors out that that would love to walk with you on your personal journey. A quick Google search will help you find ones local to you or that specialise in an area that would be helpful to you.


I am one of them and my name is Ruth. Here's my website if you'd like to be in touch: https://www.thehoperoom.co.uk/


The Hope Room Counselling

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