. . . FAQ . . .

Why have counselling / therapy?

There are many different reasons people choose to have counselling/therapy. If something is important to you, that's justification enough to take it to counselling. Therapy can help you cope with, deal with or overcome difficult situations or life events (whether recent or long-standing) and empower you to begin taking control of your life, in ways that are useful and suited to you. Counselling aims to provide a safe, confidential and regular space for you to talk and explore your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, issues, options, etc. It can also help with mental health maintenence. Good mental health isn't a given. Just like physical health, it requires effort and work on our part. Counselling can provide a proactive approach to looking after your mental health.

How often would I have sessions?

In general, sessions usually occur weekly or every two weeks, especially at first. Therapy has been found to be most productive when a client is open, honest, willing and commited to regular meetings. When counselling is effective, it's largely because of the relationship between client and counsellor. Therefore, investing time to build that relationship is important. Mental health maintenance sessions (after initial therapy) may take place less often, over a longer periods of time. Ultimately, the frequency of sessions is up to you and you are free to alter the arrangement or stop at any time.

How long would I have counselling / therapy for?

Counselling is not a quick fix; it takes time, willingness and effort. Many counsellors suggest 6 to 8 sessions as an absolute minimum. More complex issues usually benefit from longer-term work. Mental health maintenance may also take place over a longer period of time, perhaps with less frequent sessions. It's important to allow time to build trust and a good therapeutic relationship between the client and the counsellor - both of which are key elements for a productive counselling experience. The simple answer is there's no simple answer; it's a matter of personal preference/need and frequent review. Ultimately, the choice is yours - you are free to carry on or stop at any time.

What can I expect from counselling / therapy?

Counselling can be daunting, especially if you've never done it before. Feeling anxious or nervous about opening up to a stranger is understandable. (The good news is: this uncomfortableness tends to lessen with time.) Counselling sessions are guided by the client; there are no obligations to fulfill and the counsellor won't have expectations of you. You can go at your own pace and you only have to talk about what you want to talk about - a counsellor won't push you to to talk about something you don't want to talk about. They may ask you questions - not to challenge or intimidate you - but to gain a deeper understanding of what is going on for you and/or what you may need from therapy. Counsellors work with you and for you. They are there to listen and support you. They may suggest techniques to help you acheive desired outcomes and/or reach your goals, but they won't tell you what you should or shouldn't do. Counselling is about you and is for you. It is yours and you are free to use it however you choose.

How will I feel during or after counselling sessions?

Counselling sessions may or may not cover emotional topics (but more often than not, they will). You may feel emotional and tear up. It's perfectly normal and OK to cry in sessions. (It's perfectly OK not to cry, as well!) Being able to talk about things you may not have been able to discuss before or have held in a long time may feel freeing and healing, like a release. It's also possible you may feel low for a time (or worse before you start to feel better). Some weeks might feel as if a weight has been lifted, other weeks might feel the opposite. Counselling isn't a quick fix; it takes time, willingness and effort. It's useful to remember that you can go at your own pace and can stop at any time. (However, it's good idea to discuss your thoughts and feelings with your counsellor before stopping, so your counsellor can help you reach the safest possible ending to your therapy.)