Do you want to get better?

Do you want to get better?

It may seem like a no brainer. You decide to see a counsellor. That means you want to get better, right?

Not necessarily.

What is better? What do you consider ‘better’ to be? It is important to have an idea of that. People come to counselling for many reasons that have nothing to do with feeling or getting ‘better’. Getting better does not have to be the end result of counselling.

For some people, the thought of being better is frightening. If you are used to coping with life as someone who is ‘not well’ and receiving a lot of support, then what will ‘better’ with no excuse to get support mean? Getting ‘better’ is not an overnight thing. It takes time and will occur alongside other changes that improve your ability to cope with life. But do you believe that? Do you trust another person well enough to let yourself experience those changes in your life? Are you willing to give up the benefits of not being well? They are important questions to consider.

When I see someone for the first time I often ask what that person would like to see happen in that first session to make him or her feel coming to see me was worthwhile. That question could be repeated every session. Then there is that person’s idea of what counselling would achieve. Sometimes that is not clear or well understood at the first session. It is not unusual for a person to decide after some sessions that he or she wants something different from counselling. Some people never get that clear idea. All those experiences are fine. Counselling is a journey. You may start that journey with a clear idea of where you want to go and may end up somewhere else. And you will realise your destination is the right place to be. As a counsellor, I don’t tell you where to go. I just journey with you, allowing you time to reflect and explore what is on your mind.

In eight years as a counsellor, I have learned that the journey of counselling often has nothing to do with ‘getting better’.

So if your answer to the question is “no I don’t want to get better”, that does not mean you can’t benefit from counselling.

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