Counselling is a process with a professionally trained, skilled, principled and ethical collaboration between one person in the role of counsellor and another person in the role of client. With both working together in partnership for the well-being of the client!
When I first started to study to become a counsellor the words ‘trust in the process’ was often put forth by tutors when working in triads or bringing a dilemma to the group for support.
In the beginning to be honest I often sat and thought I don’t know what that means in real terms, never said anything as my other classmates seemed to know what it meant, this thought couldn’t be further from the truth once we all settled into the group and got to know each other a little, we all at one, point or another disclosed we didn’t really know what it meant in real term.
Question everything you don't understand!
Now as an experienced counsellor I understand to trust in the process, with authenticity when sat with a client in the here and now of the therapeutic time and space.
The process of counselling is very much like a voyage we set out upon a bit like Christopher Columbus when he set sail across the Atlantic Ocean he’d set off to reach the East Indies in Asia but instead he discovered the Bahamas’s, Japan and the Dominican Republic according to Royal Museums, Greenwich and he is said to have discovered America although this is often dispute.
The counselling process is very similar to Columbus’s journey in that we may engage in a counselling relationship in the beginning with a set piece of work in mind for example to resolve a present relationship which is beginning to become unhealthy or to stop some behaviour like over eating and yo yo dieting. We can find ourselves delving into our childhood or opening another door into a cabin we’ve never been in before. Finding something we’d never thought about sat on the bottom bunk an when we look again there’s something else sat on the top bunk waiting to be explored.
This can be thought of as implicit process going on in the background before it becomes explicit or becoming known to our conscious thoughts, feels or sensing. This process of our subconscious mind is always playing away in the background like the music in a pub or public place on repeat we can just about hear it. After we've been sat in the pub for a while we know its there but we don't focus our mind on it and it fades into the background of what we are doing, it continues to play whether we can hear it or not.
Counselling utilises a specific skill set which enables the client to explore, clarify, become aware and find insight and to change if change is required to empower a more healthy and productive way of being; chosen in a more aware, informed and conscious choice. Counselling may also be a process of acceptance because some things can't be changed other that our attitude and perception of the matters at hand.
The counsellor facilitates the counselling time and space for the client to undertake this gradual process of awareness using their awareness, skills and knowledge; as the client engages with the counsellor in partnership working towards the first goal which then has a ripple effect on the client’s subconscious.
This ripple effect is the ‘process’ which we learn to trust in as it gently unfolds along with the skills, the facilitation of the time and space and the relationship the counselling dyad create together.
Process is a sequence of both dependant and interdependent associations which are implicitly and explicitly linked together, the conscious mind and the subconscious mind integrating at differing points.
The counselling process is a series of steps and decisions on the part of the client to discover, clarify, find insight which becomes awareness, once something is in our awareness we have the option of choosing to change with the new insight if we so wish, if the process remains out of our conscious awareness in the background then we do not have a choice to change or understand it.
Carl Jung said
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing
"with the darkness of other people.”
Once the counsellor has learnt to trust their own process, become confident with their awareness, knowledge and skills, the client can be put at ease and reach for openness to the process of counselling.
So why not set sail on your own voyager with support of someone who has already reached a dry shore!
Make a commitment to yourself today if you wish to have an experienced companion on your journey.