You may have noticed that SMART Rehabilitation offers counselling services. But you may be wondering, what is counselling?
I often hear people describe counselling as, “just talking”, or worse, as “a friend you pay to see.” Though in many cases counselling is predominantly talking, therapy isn’t designed to feel like catching up with a friend. Your therapist should be friendly and build a positive working relationship with you, but all of your time working with them should be focused on what you need or want to talk about. There isn’t the same back-and-forth dynamic between a client and counsellor, and that’s a good thing!
Counsellors are clinicians with expertise in mental health. They often pay attention not just to what you say, but also your body language, how you understand important relationships and events in your life, and help you explore potential patterns in your life to better support you in making changes. Counselling can help you to grow a deeper relationship with yourself, clarify how you would like your life or relationships to be different, and recover. It can often include difficult or uncomfortable conversations in a safe and structured way. This often feels different compared to conversations with other people in your life because you and your counsellor are collaborating to work towards your goal.
Whether you’re working towards a short-term goal or a lifelong journey, your counsellor might ask about traumatic memories, difficult relationships, sensitive topics and / or painful thoughts, beliefs and feelings you may be experiencing. Counsellors are legally required and ethically obligated to keep your session information confidential. A part of confidentiality is also keeping the fact that you attend and participating in counselling confidential, which is why your counsellor cannot approach you in public to say hello or confirm your attendance or engagement in sessions without your written permission.
It’s also important to note that counselling isn’t just for, “people with problems”. There’s the misconception that only people who have a mental health diagnosis, or who are barely able to function in their lives, would benefit from counselling. In reality, counselling can be a sort of “mental health maintenance program,” where we take time to check in with how we are functioning and feeling in day-to-day life and grow from there. I often encourage people to access counselling before bad things or big changes happen so that they feel more confident and prepared if or when the changes happen. For example, pre-marital counselling can be helpful for creating a foundation for healthy communication between partners before a couple gets married. Another example is going to counselling to address performance anxiety and build confidence in test taking before a big exam.
If you think support for your mental health would be of benefit, consider meeting with our counsellor today! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.