On Counselling as a Journey
Psychologists do not have a magic wand, even though sometimes we wish we did. In counselling, there is no magic pill that makes feelings or problems disappear; however, there is a kind of magic happening in a counselling room. It is not a kind of magic that happens overnight but one that takes some time and has the power to make lasting changes in a client’s life. If you are interested in these kinds of changes, counselling might be the right investment for you. Also, believe it or not, and as hard as it is, we can grow from our struggles. We don’t choose or deserve many of the things that happen to us or are done to us. Yet, when we manage to process them, they can become learnings that help us grow further
Coming to therapy is not an easy decision. It is one that takes courage as the process of change is uncomfortable for most. Counselling is many times compared to a journey. A trip nevertheless brings a bit of fear and hesitation because many times we don’t know what will come, luckily it is a journey that you don’t have to travel alone. Your psychologist is there to be on this path with you.
When you embark on a journey, it is important to understand that the process of change takes time and often, you might feel a bit worse at the beginning because you start to uncover yourself and expose your vulnerabilities. However, it can be the trip of a lifetime as you might transform the things that are holding you back and freeing yourself to be able to enjoy the rest of the ride.
At the beginning of the counselling process, it is important to clarify and agree on your goals. This does not mean that they will not change, but if there is no clarity on what is to be achieved, it may be difficult for you to evaluate the effectiveness and to maintain an overall sense of ownership over the counselling process. Imagine that you are driving without a destination in mind. That might make you spend unnecessary time and energy.
Acknowledging that the path might bring about unknown or surprises is important, sometimes the way is winding, or you drive through uncovered roads. Thus, you might experience uneasy feelings as you and your psychologist find a way forward.
As you see, psychologists and clients work together, so the right match is important. A good trusting relationship with your psychologist is critical, so do not be afraid to meet potential partners before you embark on this journey. You might interview a psychologist during a phone consultation, or at your first session, look for someone who makes you feel comfortable, and you feel you can trust. That does not mean to disregard training or experience. Still, research shows that the therapeutic relationship is one of the strongest predictors of successful outcomes.
As Carl Rogers said "The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination".
You are the driver who provides the direction of the journey.