How can Counselling help? Counselling in Oxford

How is talking to a therapist different from to talking to a friend?

Therapy helps each person in a different way. No two people are the same.   If you ask a friend for help they may listen for a while but then (whilst meaning to help) they may then prescribe a solution. “What you need to do is this or that!”.   Prescribing a solution may inadvertently shut down your opportunity to explore all of your options/feelings/impacts.   If you go back to the friend later with the same worries then they may listen for a shorter time and then say “I thought I told you to do this!”.

A therapist is trained to offer something different than the above scenario…perhaps we could say “to tolerate not having an immediate solution”, but to keep on listening as you explore your sometimes uncertain/sometimes certain thoughts and feelings.

How does talking to a therapist actually help?

Well….this one is kind of hard to explain but one way of the many possible ways of describing this would be to say that “by working on (ie talking about) your inner world (ie our thoughts, feelings, emotions, fears, concerns, history, present etc), the outer world (ie job, life, relationships, stress levels, hopes or hopelessness, issue of importance) will take care of itself…….

I still don’t understand. Can you put that another way?

The issues in our life may or may not go away, but either way, their impact on us reduces. Lets say that when you start therapy you feel that “things/issues/problems” are on top of you (or bigger than you).   By coming along to therapy you will grow and become bigger than the “things” that at the start were bigger than you. So you end up being bigger than the “things/problems/issues”….. and so their impact on you reduces

Other possible ways that therapy may be able to help you

-Exploring choices and practical solutions to immediate problems (like divorce, parenting challenges, family & relationship issues)

-Helping to make known, what is currently not known (We are all influenced heavily by things we are unaware of. Counselling can help you realise what are currently unknown (unconscious/subconscious influences on you)

-Exploring how the past is internalised as contradictions within you (I want to express my self or be vulnerable, but I can’t do it/don’t know how to do it/can’t remember how to)

-Helping to realise known/unknown patterns of behaviour, thoughts and feelings that may not be helpful to us now (an iceberg is 90% below the water.  Similarly 90% of what influences us is unseen/unknown. Counselling attempts to make the unseen/unknown, become known)

-Helping to explore our current and past relationships (“I had a good/bad childhood” often later on becomes a more detailed/nuanced view of the experience of being parented)

-Discovering & enabling you to get your normal  natural needs met without denying the needs of others (being assertive in relation to others)

-To learn to accept what can be changed and what needs to be accepted (its kind of hard to understand but by accepting all the parts of ourselves, these parts can lose their unhelpful influences on us)


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