What is counselling?

Vivi Zhimomi
Joyous Life Professional Counseling Center, Dimapur

Counselling falls under the umbrella term ‘talking therapies’ and allows people to discuss their problems and any difficult feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential environment. The term can mean different things to different people, but in general, it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives, or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.

A counsellor is not there to sit you down and tell you what to do. Instead, they will encourage you to talk about what’s bothering you in order to uncover any root causes and identify your specific ways of thinking. 

 There is flexibility within this type of therapy that allows for a variety of counselling formats, including:

Face-to-face – This is when you make an appointment with a counsellor to see them in person, usually at their practice. providing an opportunity for you to react to any emotions that arise there and then. 

Individual or group – Going to a group counselling session can be helpful if you want to discuss your issues with people who are going through similar problems and you may even gain yourself a support network. Alternatively, you may wish to see a counsellor alone to preserve your privacy and concentrate on your own feelings.  

What can counselling help with?

Counselling can be useful for anyone who wants to explore the way they’re thinking or feeling further, as well as for anyone experiencing a problem or issue they are keen to resolve. People may choose to speak to a counsellor because they feel they cannot speak to their other half/friends/family about such personal issues.

Common subjects that can be addressed within counselling include the following:

Addictions 

Wherever there is a physical addiction to a substance or activity – there is likely to be a psychological addiction too. Counselling aims to relieve the psychological addiction by exploring the root cause while helping to develop new ways of thinking.

Bereavement 

Losing a loved one is a difficult event in anyone’s life. The loss can bring up a wide range of emotions including guilt and anger. Some people benefit from speaking openly to a counsellor about their feelings to help ease the process and resolve any remaining issues they may have.

Mental health 

Suffering from a mental health issue such as schizophrenia or depression , Bipolar , BPD (borderline personality disorder) can  feel incredibly isolating. Counselling looks to discuss the feelings that arise in conjunction with these kinds of mental health issues, as well as overcome any personal challenges or frustrations. 

Relationships 

Covering all types of relationships, counselling can be used to discuss issues in families, friendships and couples or even your relationships at work.

Trauma

Whether you’ve been involved in an accident or you have been the victim of abuse, the psychological impact of trauma can last years after the event itself. In a counselling session, trauma victims are encouraged to explore their feelings regarding the incident and look into how these could be resolved or changed.

Other

Feelings of stress, anxiety and low self -esteem are becoming all too common in today’s society. Counselling can offer practical advice for overcoming these kinds of issues .

How can counselling help?

The way counselling can help will depend on the person receiving the treatment. For many, the fact that counselling offers a safe and confidential environment to speak in is all it takes.

In life, what we say to others can sometimes have a knock-on effect, altering relationships and the way people see each other. Counselling eliminates this problem and offers you the space and freedom to explore your own thoughts, feelings and emotions.

While counsellors may not give you concrete advice or a checklist of things to do to feel better, what they will do is help you uncover your own insight and understanding of your problems providing you with the tools which will help you to resolve them on your own.

In the majority of cases, a single session will not be enough to help overcome any issues you’re facing. Counselling is a journey, and it takes time and consistency to work effectively. 

Counselling can help you understand yourself better and the way you think, which will ultimately help you develop a clearer understanding of your problems. and eventually you can come out the other side feeling more positive.

Counselling can also help you better understand other people’s point of view, which can shed light onto the way you interpret words or actions.

Types of therapy

When it comes to counselling there are a range of different approaches or therapies that can be used. The type of therapy used will depend on your counsellor’s preferences, the issues you are facing and what type of person you are. Most counsellors won’t decide on a therapy type until they have found out more about you, the problems you face and the way you think.

Types of Therapy :-

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that talks about how you think about yourself ,the world and other people .How what you do affects your thoughts and feelings .CBT can help you to change how you think (cognitive) and what you do (Behaviour) .These changes can help you to feel better.It focuses on the ‘here and now” problems and difficulties.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy to help better treat borderline personality disorder. Since its development, it has also been used for the treatment of other kinds of mental health disorders.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

CPT is a 12-session therapy that has been found effective for posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD).CPT focused on rape victims with a range of other traumatic events,including military-related traumas.

What to expect from counselling

If you have decided to try counselling, you might be feeling anxious about your first session. Making the decision to get help and address the issues you are facing is an important first step .

In your first session, it’s likely that your counsellor will ask you some questions in order to gain an understanding of what’s worrying you and the way your thought processes work. All of the information obtained here will be used to help you in future sessions.

Some questions your counsellor may ask include:

Why are you seeking counselling? 

What is your current situation and personal history? – 

What symptoms are you experiencing? – Whether these are physical or psychological, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your counsellor.It is advised that you be honest and open when answering these questions in order to get the most out of your counselling sessions.

Counsellor establish some clear boundaries when you begin your sessions that cover the following:

Dates and times of the counselling sessions / confidentiality agreement/ clarification of the professional nature of the counsellor and client  relationship/ how and when the counsellor can be contacted outside of sessions

The counselling process

Counselling often requires you to discuss upsetting emotions and painful memories. Bringing up these thoughts can feel difficult to start with and initially, you may feel worse. This process is necessary to move forward and in time, you should start to feel better.

Counselling is not a quick fix, and that your counsellor will not be able to tell you what to do. The counselling process requires a strong relationship between you and your counsellor and a degree of effort on your part – together these two elements create a successful method to help you resolve your issues. In conclusion i would like to state that Its very important to bring awareness about mental illness in our society / churches and across nagaland .So that u can be attentive to warning sings and take steps towards recognizing and preventing this illness . our society misunderstand that physical and mental illness are the same. By giving you this basic information i guess you can differentiate if you are suffering from mental illness or not .So that in the future if u happen to have any of this symptoms u can get help without any delay .