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The difficult first step – 3 things to keep in mind.

Updated: Dec 17, 2018

Deep down you know there’s a part of you that desperately needs to talk to someone. You long for that space away from your day to day routine. You’ve been considering seeking the help and support of a counsellor but just can’t seem to take the first step. Whether you’ve seen a counsellor in the past or had no experience of counselling before, this blog is for you.

Somehow the days roll by and this pressing need is put on hold. You’re managing to tend to other things, the school run, a dental check-up, a deadline at work….

All the time knowing something is weighing you down and holding you back from embracing life as fully as you want to.

Perhaps you’ve been holding on to so many thoughts and feelings for such a long time, you’re not sure how you would begin to open up to someone you don’t even know. You question yourself, do I really want to say those things out loud? Life is so demanding already, am I up to this?

If you’re feeling unsure or even afraid of taking that step, please keep these 3 things in mind.

1. Your counselling is there to serve you.

First and foremost, it’s your counselling, for your benefit, there to meet your needs. Many people feel caught up in wondering how they’ll meet the needs of ‘the counselling’ itself. That they’ll have expectations placed upon them and fear that they may not be able meet them.

Remind yourself that you set the pace. You may have a great deal to share with your counsellor in your first session, and it may feel like a relief to do so. It’s also quite possible you want to take the whole process very slowly. It may be somewhere between the two.

You have an integral role to play in deciding not only when your counselling begins, but how it progresses.

Your counsellor is there to carefully balance the insight and expertise they offer you, whilst ensuring your pain is recognised, understood and treated with the upmost care.

2. Meeting your need to feel less alone.

If you’re feeling alone with your internal struggle, concerned that others may judge or misunderstand you, or that it’s too much to try and explain. It’s likely you’ve been working very hard to keep certain feelings to yourself, perhaps to hide them from loved ones or put on a brave face at work. You may long to be able to share the weight of what you’re carrying, and your experience is a lonely one.

This is where counselling could help you to feel less alone. A counsellor is there to work alongside you, to understand your perspective and to sit with all of the feelings you’re experiencing.

The very nature of counselling is centred on working together, not being alone.

3. What you hope for counts.

Take some time to reflect on what’s driving you to seek help and support. Whether you’re looking to finally heal from a painful past experience, or you’re desperate to find clarity and balance in your life. Whether you seek comfort, peace or understanding, whatever you hope for is important.

Perhaps you’ve learnt to get by, manage or cope with your struggle and most of the time you’re able to push the desire for change to the back of your mind. However you keep coming back to the same the familiar place. Like a relentless wave of emotion that persists in asking for more, the old hurt keeps resurfacing.

It is ok, not only to want more, to want something to be different and to want lasting change, but also to actively seek it. To prioritise yourself and take that first step towards healing and self-care. To actually discover a life that lies beyond the pain you’ve been enduring.

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