Personal experiences of counselling and psychotherapy

So many questions

My story is in recognition of a BACP therapist.

I originally thought about having some counselling sessions after a lengthy conversation with a girl friend who was telling me about her counselling experiences. Afterwards I thought ‘‘I can totally identify with what she’s saying, perhaps I could do with some of that”. That was in 2004.

Initially I was rather reluctant about my first session. Would I like her? What would she look like? What did I really want to talk about? How would the conversation start? Would I be able to trust her? Would she know anyone whom I knew (the community was small)? Would she be judgemental or prejudiced (I didn’t need more people like that)? What would happen if I started crying? Would I need to lie down on a couch?

I will say that the counselling sessions were at times difficult and sometimes I didn’t want the conversation to go where the therapist was headed, as I wasn’t ready or able to deal with that topic, at that time. But that’s the thing, it didn’t matter. Everything moved at my pace and I was in control of the conversation. If we didn’t want to talk about ‘x’, or if it was too painful, then we would stop and move onto something else. At times I would cry my eyes out; at other times I’d laugh and start to see myself in a different light. Although I was initially apprehensive about our meetings, after a while I looked forward to the next session (especially when things became clearer). My therapist helped me to gain the confidence to confront certain people and situations that I would never have done otherwise. She also helped to make me aware of certain patterns and behaviours in my life and to work out whether these were having a positive or negative effect on me. I then had the choice to make changes, or to accept them for what they were. Above all I built up my self-confidence and self-esteem.

I saw my therapist for about a year and received one or two ‘top up’ sessions over the next few years, and I’m seeing her again for a few sessions. Interestingly enough, we literally picked up from where we last left off several years ago and although I now live overseas, we speak via Skype, so we still have the face to face contact. My therapist isn’t a friend, nor is she looking for me to go and have counselling for years on end, but she really is someone to turn to in difficult times.

I hugely benefit and have benefitted from this experience and would thoroughly recommend it. Just on a final note, she didn’t have the soft couch for me to lie on, but she did have a quiet and cosy room in her house, which was the perfect place for us to speak.

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