Therapy – A Personal View
This guide has been put together by one of our members, Frog. It is a really useful look at some of the many questions people ask and it provides an excellent staring point for people who are considering starting their healing journey.
What a counsellor should be, and be able to do for you!
This is for you, so you know what counselling can do for you and the ethics in which counsellors have to work. I have heard so many awful stories and I myself have been put in difficult situations by a counsellor, so this is to arm you with information. So you know 1. What to expect and 2. What ethics the counsellor is working to.
Counselling – A Definition
‘Counselling is a process through which one person helps another through purposeful conversation in an understanding atmosphere. It seeks to establish a helping relationship in which the one counselled can express their thoughts and feelings in such a way as to :
1. Clarify their own situation
2. Come to terms with some new experience
3. See their difficulty more objectivity
4. Face their problem with less anxiety and tension
Its basic purpose is to assist the individual to make their own decisions from among the choices available to them.’
(Steering Committee of the Standing Conference for the Advancement of Counselling, 1969)
Counselling is not:-
Making people less emotional or stopping emotion, or meeting the counsellors need to make people feel better.
Challenging people’s views of a situation, giving advice, or solving people’s problems for them.
Imposing the counsellors reactions, values, ideas, on a distressed person.
Making a ‘diagnosis’ or value judgement.
To provide a supportive caring atmosphere acceptance/sharing, But it cannot provide an instant solution.
The creation of an atmosphere of permission which facilitates emotional expression
To encourage the person to identify their own coping and problem solving capabilities.
How a counselling session might go.
Counsellors do not tend to shake hands.
If it is your first session, the counsellor will tell you lots of information, number one will usually be confidentiality. Counsellors should have a supervisor, in which the counsellor can go to for advice guidance. They will not disclose your name. The only time the counsellor is duty bound to break confidentiality is if you tell them:
1. You intend to harm yourself
2. You intend to harm someone else
3. You intend to harm a child
4. You intend to commit a terrorist act.
They will usually get you to sign a piece of paper with this written on to say that you understand and have seen this information.
They should keep your file notes separate from your name, also they should have a filling system were by only the counsellor can relate the notes to your name. This information should be kept in a locked cabinet.
Boundaries, Counsellors are bound by boundaries, these are;- No personal, social or sexual contact, to define personal contact this means hugging or touching even if it is a hand on the shoulder it is still a big no no and highly unethical. Some therapists will allow hugging and touching, but only at the express permission of the Client. The boundaries will be clear and agreed by both parties before the sessions begin. Also, they must inform you of holidays and breaks. They should also be consistent with the sessions times. You will also be expected to honour this system.
Look out for BACP accredited counsellors. To become BACP accredited a counsellor needs to have met several criteria – details of which can be found here, along with lots of other useful information.
HAVOCA would like to thank Frog for putting this guide together. If you feel you’d like to know more about therapy before taking the plunge, then we thoroughly recommend that you join our forums where you will be able to meet like minded people and ask questions to survivors who have been through the same journey as you.