Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work as a counsellor. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links above
For some people, counselling can be quite a brief process, especially if they come with a clear idea of what they want to achieve. For others counselling can be a much longer process, with no obvious objectives and no definite finishing point. Neither of these approaches is right or wrong; it’s down to what you as an individual want to get out of counselling.
If you do come to counselling with an open-ended approach in mind, then there is a danger that it becomes a routine, a habit, and that you attend counselling because that is what you do every week. Counselling can then become something you rely on, something that is difficult to stop.
While this may be right for some people, my approach is to see the overall objective of counselling as “to get you to a place where you don’t need to come to counselling any more”. I will therefore be encouraging my clients to review things on a regular basis. Are we moving in the right direction? Are we talking about the right things? Are we taking the right approach? What would need to change for you to be able to end the counselling? Your objectives may not always be clear, but it is generally possible at least to understand the next steps.
But what of the title of this piece; “Taking a Break”? The point of this is that sometimes, in order to see whether you are ready to end counselling, it is a good idea to take a break. It may be that you have learnt things from counselling; a better understanding of yourself, perhaps, or some different ideas about how to approach certain situations. But is that enough? The only way to find out may be to do it on your own. If you want to learn to drive a car, you have to get into one and try it at some point – you can’t learn it in a classroom.
A few years ago I was forced to take a break from counselling for a couple of months due to ill health. My clients, therefore, were forced to take a break too. Not all of them returned to counselling, so I cannot say how the break affected them, but some did return. One couple, in particular, returned to tell me that they were OK, and that they felt they could now manage without counselling. Before my illness, they had seemed to be quite stuck, unsure how to move forward. They said that the break had forced them to make decisions and take responsibility for their relationship and that this had been what they needed. They didn’t realise how much they had learnt; taking the break had forced them to put things into practice, and they found that they were further on than they had thought.
So sometimes taking a break from counselling can be very informative. It may tell you that you are OK without counselling, it may tell you that you need to return, but it may help you to understand better what you need from counselling. The idea of taking a break is something you can raise with your counsellor; talk it through and see if it feels like a good idea…