Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page
While there can be “breakthrough moments” in counselling, very often progress is slow, and that can be frustrating. This can apply in both individual and in couple work. For example, an alcoholic can only recover an hour, a day, a week at a time. So too, with depression, recovery can be a slow process. If you’ve come to counselling for help in making a big decision, it can take a while before things start to become clearer. In relationships, restoration of trust after an affair is usually very gradual (though in this case that trust can be broken very suddenly).
The frustration you might feel is natural. Probably you have lived with your current situation for quite a while before coming to counselling; it may even be that counselling is a “last resort”. So you are likely to be very eager, even impatient, to move on, to find an answer, but you are likely to find that you need to give the counselling process a bit of time before things start to change. You will need to tell your story, and probably look at things from a number of different angles before things start to shift, though occasionally it can happen that something “clicks” and things can change for you after one or two sessions.
In cases where counselling seems to be moving quite slowly, it can be helpful to take a step back and review the last week from a new perspective. The positives (and there nearly always are some positives, however small) can be highlighted and built upon. If an alcoholic has managed one day without a drink, that can be captured and repeated, so that next time it can become two days without a drink. If you have had a few hours when you have felt less depressed that normal, you can talk about what you were doing, and how that felt, and then seek to replicate those circumstances. If you and your partner have had one relaxed evening when you haven’t argued, you can both think about what you did to help that to happen, and to do that again. Similarly, the times that have been less good can be analysed and new strategies can be developed to help you to avoid or minimise those situations in the future.
Of course, there will be ups and downs; usually progress is not a steady, upward line. It can sometimes feel as if, having worked really hard to make some slow progress, one negative event takes you right back where you started. However it is generally true that if you have gone from A to B once, you can do it more easily the second time. Counselling can help here too, by enabling to view progress as a whole and focus on the improvements you have made over a long period, to keep the shorter term issues in perspective.
Making changes is often about taking small steps and reviewing them. What has worked for you and what hasn’t? How can you repeat the small successes and avoid repeating the failures? As you keep asking yourself these questions, you will develop more understanding of yourself, so that that process of changing becomes an easier one. So be patient, small steps can lead to big changes.