What is Individual Counselling?

Individual counselling (sometimes called psychotherapy, talk therapy or treatment) is a one-to-one personal discussion between the counsellor and the client that focuses on the clients near future concerns. In the process the counsellor and the client forms a bond of trust that enables the clients' growth, it happens in a private, personal and secure setting. The psychology of counselling focuses on how people function both personally and with relationships at different stages of life. Counselling psychology addresses the social, work, school, emotional and physical health issues that people may have in their lives, focusing on a hectic life schedule leads to stress and more severe concerns which people may struggle with as an individual and as a part of society.

Counselling psychologists help individuals with physical, emotional and mental health issues and help improve their sense of well‐being, alleviate feelings of distress and resolve issues.

How it helps?

Counselling basically helps point out the problems and understand what are the different aspects which can be worked on and improved.

1.  Counselling psychology understands the concern and provides a positive solution to the issues causing stress.
2.  It identifies the illogical & negative thought patterns that contribute to the feeling of helplessness and inadequacy, and create a more positive way to deal with it.
3.  They create new meaningful thought and behaviour patterns that help in dealing with issues or problems and not allowing them to reoccur.
4.  It helps in improving and developing a sense of control and happiness in life and promoting self-confidence.
5.  They discover personal strengths and use them to control problems and to grow stronger in other areas of life.
6.  Individual counselling finds solutions to life’s problems by setting more personalized goals.

Five Signs that indicate you need Therapy or Counselling:

1.  When you think you have difficulty in managing your emotions.
2.  When you have a feeling of self-harm like suicide, you indeed need counselling.
3.  Difficulty in making transitions like marriage, shifting to a new home, choosing a new college, making career choices, having a newborn, etc.
4.  Relationship problems, whether it is with parents, children, spouse, a partner you are dating, which is impacting your daily life.
5.  When you find yourself struggling with feelings of low self-worth or low self-esteem e.g., you don’t like your looks, are unable to do work you possibly do, feel less self-confident and have less decision-making power.

Problem Addressed Areas:

Counselling psychotherapy is addressed by cultural, environmental and developmental areas, such as:

1.  Stress management and coping with negative life experiences.
2.  School and work adjustment concern.
3.  Work-life balance.
4.  Organisational problem and peer pressure.
5.  Problem with relationships - including marital, non-marital, divorced, bereavement, etc.
6.  Mental disorder.
7.  Depression.
8.  Physical inability or disorder.
9.  Lack of skills and learning/growth deficit.
10.  Personal adjustment difficulties with people in general.
The First Counselling Session

Your first session will help you to decide whether this counsellor is the right one for you. Questions that you must ask yourself include:

-      Do I feel comfortable?
-      Am I able to talk freely about my deeply personal thoughts and emotions?
-      Is the counsellor paying attention to me?
-      Do I feel they understand and respect me?
-      Do I feel safe in this space?
-      Has the counsellor discussed a plan with me about how we will manage my issues or concerns?
-      Am I able to communicate effectively with my counsellor / therapist? 

If you decide that the counsellor isn’t the right one for you, you don’t have to go back. You are under no obligation to continue seeing a counsellor if you aren’t comfortable with them.

1. What should a client expect from the 1st Session

The first session is an ice-breaker of sorts where you gauge how comfortable you are with your counsellor/therapist and helps you build a rapport and understanding with your counsellor/therapist. You and your counsellor discuss the primary issues that you are trying to deal with and set a few general goals and a plan to achieve these goals. It is important that you find the right fit in a therapist and the first session helps you in deciding this.

2. What to expect from the 2nd Session

The second session is like a step ahead in relationship building between you and the counsellor and leads towards an in-depth exploration of the issues faced by you and what can be done to resolve them.

3. Final outcome of the Therapy / Counselling. What to expect from the whole Counseling Process?

The whole counselling process is a type of stepwise progression starting with relationship building. This then leads to assessing the problem at a deeper level and setting up goals and plans towards achievable outcomes. Once goals are set, active intervention and therapy is given based on the presenting issues. Once the intervention phase is over, an evaluation of your current status is done and if you feel that your issues have been resolved, the counselling process is terminated. Your counsellor/therapist may ask you for follow-up sessions from time to time, just to check all is well.

Common Myths about Counselling:

1.    Counselling is for weak people or it’s a symbol or sign of weakness.
2.    Counselling is only for people with serious emotional problems and for people with special needs.
3.    Counselling is expensive.
4.    Counselling is the first step in resolving life difficulties.
5.    Counselling is just talking.
6.    Counselling will fix all problems instantly.

Suggestions for Effective Use of Counselling:

Individual counselling can help one deal with many personal and interpersonal topics in life such as anger, depression, stress, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage and relationship challenges, life skills, parenting problems, school difficulties, career changes, etc. So here are some suggestions for you:

       1.  Always express your concern in detail with your counsellor, if required talk in private.    
       2.  Never tell a lie about your behaviour or circumstances.
       3.  Always be sure that the confidentially of your sessions is maintained.
       4.  Don’t use sentences like; I have a sleeping disorder, I eat too much nowadays, etc.
       5.  Trust your counsellor and his/her techniques.
       6.  Believe that counselling is going to help you in dealing with everyday problems.
       7.  Have patience and trust the process.