Effective counselling takes several weeks, not several years

Effective counselling takes several weeks, not several years. I really wish that I could state with unequivocal belief and confidence that the concept of therapists with clients attending therapy two or three times a week for years on end is a thing that died in back 1939 along with Sigmund Freud. Unfortunately, it is not. I still hear such stories from clients who come to me – effectively having given up on some other therapist who they have been meeting with for ages. When I use the word ages, I mean months and months of weekly sessions without really achieving anything of note, and certainly not really getting any better. In fact, sometimes the dependency people develop on their counsellors have actually caused more harm than good.

Effective counselling is about providing people with several fundamental things, but in the main it is about helping them reach a place where they see and engage in life in a way that fulfils them in a manner it didn’t before seeking counselling. Of the things that those seeking effective counselling most want and deserve is a counsellor that leaves them feeling seen and heard as a complete human being. Those seeking effective counselling want and deserve to feel there is meaning and purpose in their lives. People seeking effective counselling deserve to sit with a counsellor who doesn’t just sit looking at them with sympathy, nor do they want a nodding dog therapist who occasionally writes a note on their clipboard before saying “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid our time is up for the day”. What people seeking effective counselling want and deserve are solutions to the difficulties they are facing. Solutions that stick. People deserve a counsellor who is able to do more than listen, they want someone who is willing and able to engage fully in the counselling relationship with them for the purpose of finding that solution, and finding it as quickly as possible.

This doesn’t mean that everything in life is open to a quick fix, but it does mean that more often than not there are things that can be done to effect small changes in one’s life almost from the first session. Counselling doesn’t have to be a three year long epic journey staring into your own belly button. In addition, (and most certainly), counselling isn’t about providing the counsellor with a steady income stream for the next 18 months either.

In my counselling practice in Bishops Stortford, for the year 2018, the average number of sessions for individuals who came to see me for counselling was 14, with the average number for couples being 21. Without question, I worked with individuals and couples who required far fewer sessions, and a few who needed a bit more – these are the averages. To put this into a bit more context, my practice consists primarily of adults between the ages 30 – 60 and in the main, the couples I work with have been together between 8 and 14 years. By the time most couples attend counselling, the patterns they’ve gotten themselves into are well and truly ingrained and disentangling them in 10 to 20 hours requires focus and dedication from all three of us. Importantly however, once these patterns are disentangled, they tend to remain so for years. The individuals who have attended counselling with me have tended to come out of the experience with a better understanding of themselves, greater abilities in dealing with others, a better understanding of their own desires for their life’s direction and a greater ability to drive their life in the direction they wish it to go. All this leads to people feeling like they’ve “found themselves” again.  Of course, effective counselling doesn’t stop people from getting themselves into new predicaments as time goes on, but the skill people learn from effective counselling slow that down considerably.

If you would like more information on how effective counselling in Bishops Stortford might be helpful to you, and you don’t believe that seeing a counsellor for the next two years is your cup of tea, then please feel free to contact me on 01279 834467 for a fully confidential, no obligation discussion of your needs.