The Benefits of Counselling and Psychotherapy
Managing our mental health can be challenging whilst meeting the responsibilities of life or when facing adversity. Particularly difficult in Hong Kong, where a strong culture for high achievement, long working hours and negative and harmful stigma prevents people from opening up about their mental health issues and seeking support.
What is Counselling?
Counselling is a talk-based therapy which allows people to discuss their problems with a trained professional in a safe and confidential environment. Difficulties can stem from many sources in life and may produce emotional, thinking, behavioural issues. Some areas where counselling is often used to good effect for support include;
- relationship issues
- work related issues
- substance misuse
- developmental differences (ADHD, ASD etc.)
- eating disorders
- low self-confidence
- family and parenting issues
- physical disabilities
The counselling process is designed to support people who are seeking to face a challenge in their life, overcome long standing issues, or to explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth to gain a greater sense of self-awareness to develop healthy and effective coping strategies, mechanisms and skills. Counsellors can utilise different approaches and modalities depending on the client and their presenting issue. Because of this it is common for counsellors to have specialisations and additional training in specific psychotherapy approaches and therapies. This is important to consider when looking for and selecting a counsellor with whom you would like to work.
Types of counselling
Something to consider is there are are also different types of counseling which can provide different levels of support.
- Individual Counselling – this is one to one talk therapy with a counsellor. This can be done in person, online and over the phone. This can be tailored to the specific issue.
- Family Counselling – family counselling is designed to tackle specific issues which are affecting the functioning of a family. It can be used to help a family through mental health or behavioural problems in family members. It can also help families though a difficult period like a major transition.
- Group Counselling – many groups are designed to target a specific problem or can be focused on improving social skills. Benefits can include the development of a support network, helping us feel that we are not alone, exploration of shared experiences.
- Couples/Marriage counselling – this is aimed to help couples resolve conflicts, manage stress, improve communication to improve their relationship.
Benefits of Counselling
Self-Exploration and Self-Discovery: Working with a counsellor offers the opportunity to gain insight about yourself and gain a greater understanding into who you are – your values, beliefs and personality. A key part to change is self-awareness on the role we have in the challenges we face.
Provides Support in a Safe and Confidential Space: The three main characteristics of most counsellors include empathetic understanding and listening, unconditional positive regard, and being genuine (congruent). We strive to provide a non-judgmental, safe and caring environment for our clients to feel comfortable with disclosure of personal matter in a completely confidential space.
Supports Change of Self-Defeating Behaviours: Some of us have bad habits that contribute to our challenges. Counsellors can help bring about awareness of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that are involved and help identify any relevant themes or patters. The development of this awareness can help you to set realistic and achievable goals to take the steps to regain control over your behaviours.
Improving Expression and Management of Emotions: When negative emotions take over, we may resort to unhealthy behaviours as a way to cope. The counselling process can help you identify, express, and regulate your emotions. By increasing awareness and understanding of triggers and maladaptive coping, you can develop skills to cope with and express your emotions in a healthy and constructive way.
Learning Effective Skills: There is a wealth of skills that you can learn and develop through counselling that are useful in everyday life. Ranging from communication, interpersonal skills, relaxation skills, problem-solving, conflict resolution skills, emotion regulation skills, parenting skills and much more. Counselling provides an opportunity to learn, practice, and experiment with these skills before applying them to real life situations.
Speak Up & Reach Out today to help yourself or someone else who may need care.
Psynamo Team Member – Joe Clark, Counsellor