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Does counselling work for everybody?

Simple answer - No

It seems that society, in general, seems to split into three groups of people.

Group 1.

These are the people that believe in the idea of counselling or talking therapy in general. They can see that the concept of talking about problems and analysing them can help alleviate them. This doesn't mean they are instantly trusting and will open up to anyone at any time, but they can see the value of sharing and discussing how they feel. Maybe they will have a close friend or family member they share their stuff with but they will also appreciate that chatting to a mate is not the same as professional counselling, no matter how close you are with the person. If this sort of person embarks on a program of counselling they are more likely to benefit from it, and probably faster too. The idea of exploring feelings doesn't seem as scary and they may be more comfortable in talking about things in their life that others might find difficult.

Group 2.

These people are at the opposite end of the spectrum to Group 1. These are people that just don't buy into the idea that "talking to a stranger" can help. Sometimes it's a generational thing. Older members of society may have grown up in a time where you just 'got on with it', no matter how you felt or what life threw at you. Even to the extent that to admit that things were hard could be construed as weakness. Alternatively, it may be nothing to do with age or what generation you grew up in. It could just be the individual's personality. They may feel that they have all the support they need from friends and family, so if they find life a bit tough they turn to their person of choice within their social circle, get some things out in the open, feel a bit better for doing so and then carry on. This is fine except the cycle may repeat itself and each chat with a trusted confident is just 'putting a plaster over the wound' until next time. It's hard for this person to understand the concept that maybe the reason why things are going wrong could be something far deeper. Maybe a childhood trauma or a bad relationship from a few years ago is causing problems now. Effective therapy can uncover hidden issues and deal with them in such a way that they stop impacting negatively on the future. But in order to even begin to solve the conundrum through counselling, the person has to firstly admit that something is wrong, then decide it is something that needs particular attention and then to make the decision to speak to a professional. These three steps are highly unlikely to be taken because the person cannot see the value. They have no intention of seeking out an unknown stranger to tell all their 'deep dark secrets' to. In their eyes they have all the help they need. But that's ok. As long as they feel safe and supported in life, that's all that matters.

Group 3.

These are possibly the biggest group. These are the ones that are unsure. They are on the fence. They won't disregard the idea of counselling but they also don't see how it could help them personally. They need convincing. You may even have spoken to somebody like this. You make a suggestion that perhaps they should see a counsellor and the reply is something like "Oh, I don't know about that. Do you think that would help?". A person from Group 1 has probably already made the appointment and a Group 2 person may respond with something like "No way! I'm not airing my dirty laundry with some random person".

These Group 3 people are the ones that could start to look at the implications of counselling in terms of how it will look, what does it mean or what will people think? If they come into contact with a number of Group 1 people, speaking positively of their experiences and reassuring them that there is no stigma in seeking help, they are more likely to start looking for a counsellor than if they are surrounded by Group 2 type people who are more likely to

discourage it. If the person isn't really impacted by the people around them then it comes down to gaining information. Maybe they will start researching online. If the condition

affecting them was so serious that they have consulted their GP then they may have been advised to consider counselling, which may just tip them in that direction.

Reading this you may not know whether you fall into the 'yes', 'no' or 'don't know', category, in which case I would suggest you're Group 3. If you're one of the other groups you are very sure of your opinion.

The tough part, for a counsellor, is when the client attends for a session and it transpires they are firmly in Group 2, but they may have been instructed or ordered to attend counselling.

Now that's a whole new discussion............

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