The benefits of counselling  

We all live in an increasingly complex world, with numerous factors – many of which are beyond our control – affecting how good we feel and how well we function within it.

Within this world things don’t always work out as we want them to: illness, bereavement, loss, relationship issues, redundancy, stress, depression – the list of reasons why we might need help seems endless …

… and talking of help, it sometimes feels as if asking for help is demonstrating some sort of weakness.  If only we could deal with it ourselves!  We perhaps believe that asking for help, and receiving it, might reinforce our feelings of weakness, dependency, lack of confidence and uncertainty – and exacerbate the original problem(s).

It’s good to talk

The fact is, asking for help is actually a strength!  It demonstrates that we wish not only to take control of the situation but to make it better.  And an excellent starting point is by telling someone else about the problem:

  • the simple fact of talking about it – opening up to someone – can be a relief and provide some catharthis
  • you will quickly realise that you are not alone
  • the people you talk to may be able to empathise …
  • … or offer guidance or advice …
  • … or share their own thoughts and feelings …
  • … or simply “be there” for you (which is not to be underestimated)
  • all of which can help enormously

And then there is counselling.

What is counselling?

It is one thing talking about problems to family members and close friends, which we reiterate can be enormously beneficial.  For various reasons, however, this may not be possible, or you may not feel ready for it.  It is another thing to talk to expert, professional counsellors who have vast experience in helping people deal with problems of various kinds and whose expertise is underpinned by years of high quality training.

Counselling is a type of therapy that allows people to talk about their problems – however serious or seemingly insurmountable they may be – in a environment that is entirely safe.  By safe we mean:

  • confidential
  • respectful
  • non judgemental
  • uncritical
  • empathic
  • constructive
  • helpful

You will be encouraged to express your feelings honestly and openly.  It’s ok to cry, to be silent, or just talk!  You won’t be offered direct advice, but you will be guided towards finding your own solution to your problem(s) through a greater understanding.

It can be a great relief to share your worries and fears with someone who acknowledges your feelings and is able to help you reach a positive solution.

Who provides counselling?

We mentioned the high quality training that counsellors receive, thus ensuring that they can provide the therapy effectively.

Different healthcare professionals may be trained in counselling or be qualified to provide psychological therapies.  These include:

  • counsellors
  • psychologists
  • psychiatrists
  • psychotherapists
  • cognitive behavioural psychotherapists

We’ll be talking more about these in future articles.

Qualifications and regulations for counsellors

Most counsellors will be registered with a professional organisation that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) (a government body), such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or The National Counselling Society.

Counselling and clinical psychologists must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), and may also be chartered with The British Psychological Society (BPS). The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) maintains a list of accredited CBT practitioners.

Therapists registered with a professional association have met the PSA’s high standards for governance, standard setting, education and training, information, management and complaints. They must also maintain high ethical and professional standards. This gives the public greater protection, and guarantees a minimum level of training and continuing professional development.

We are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please see our contact information on our contact us page

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!