It's not rocket science, and yet it can be incredibly simple and complicated at the same time........ i'll explain what I mean:
When it works well, your therapist is able to reflect such a depth of understanding of you, that you begin to see yourself in a way that makes more sense. Where you are able to "see the forest for the trees", to emerge from the obscuring clouds of confusion and begin to see things more clearly.
You may then experience a trust and rapport, that enables you to relax more, and begin to explore your inner self in a way you may never have experienced before. Feeling secure in the knowledge that your therapist is alongside you, offering you support and helping you begin to navigate these new experiences. This then may present you with the opportunity to begin to resolve long and short term difficulties and issues.
This of course does not mean that counselling is always about change, it may in some cases be about accepting, in a more peaceful way, some things that are beyond your power to change, or control.
So, although the above may seem relatively simple, I assure you that the complicated part is in finding a therapist that you are able to establish such an effective working relationship with.
I won't try and blind you with science or psychobable, I won't try and hide behind a cold professional front.......... but
I will try and be there with you as a fellow human being, who is just as imperfect, flawed and real as you are, and together we might achieve something.
Here follows some examples that offer you a window into the way I work:
Helping clients recognise how holding on to a negative view of themselves, maintains their depressive view of the world around them and the relationships they experience. This can offer clients a choice of whether to begin to change this negative view and approach life with a more constructive mindset. It can be a struggle, because as humans we often keep doing the things we know, even when they are unhelpful!
Listening to clients express so much anger at the way they were, or have been treated, can be incredibly cathartic and freeing for clients. Skillfully leaving clients the space to explore their feelings, while helping them unravel what has become trapped and knotted, can enable clients to "move on" and leave old and heavy baggage behind.
Reflecting back to clients the words they have chosen to express themselves. Asking questions to help them get in touch with their feelings and thoughts, can help clients begin to understand their behaviours, some of the choices they make, and how this affects or contributes to their beliefs. There is then a deeper understanding gained by both client and therapist, and this can lead to much greater therapeutic potential for clients.
Building a picture of a clients approach to life: how they manage their lifestyle, their work/life balance, the relationship choices they make, their decisions and sacrifices, and how they maintain or don't maintain their personal boundaries can be enlightening. When clients begin to see the sum total of how they "maintain" their lives, it can often be obvious to them that changes need to be made. Helping clients explore the reasons why some of these choices and decisions were made can be illuminating for them, and they may then choose healthier alternatives.
Enabling a client to experience feeling well and truly heard, seen, and understood. Is sometimes all they say they want and needed.
Strategies to help clients cope, both in the short and longer term can also be very constructive. Although I think if you recognise some of the above, you might see how a combination of a client's increased awareness of themselves, is the very foundation for strategies to become more effective, adaptable and lasting.
What benefits might you expect?
You're likely to understand yourself better and how you relate to others
You might develop more self esteem, confidence, and begin to like yourself more
You may begin to look at things more broadly and become less rigid in your thinking and beliefs, and this in turn may reduce worry and anxiety
You may also be able to leave bad, historic experiences behind you and move on constructively
You could begin to live your life with more meaning. Feeling more in control of your emotions, and more able to embrace the joys that life can bring, along with increased motivation.
You may begin to feel more relaxed and at peace with yourself and others around you.
You may also quite simply feel heard, understood, visible and seen as the person that you are, or want to become.