As a counsellor, or indeed any therapist, we are limited to the value we can achieve for our clients by our available skills and scope… but also the clients own willingness or ability to collaborate.
“We can take a horse to water, but we can’t make it drink!
The fact is, people get stuck, or attached to their challenges. A therapist may choose or try to find ‘door openers’ to possibilities and routes for change, but in the end, the client will always be the executive decision maker!
It may be that when we book an appointment and engage someone to help us that we haven’t recognised our own level of accountability within the process; after all, we’re paying someone to get us better!
Is that really so?
No, not really! The therapist in talking therapy is contracted to help ‘us’ find ‘our’ answers. A fundamental requirement when engaging a therapist is to have expectations appropriately managed, and boundaries established. Who is responsible for what? How is the journey expected to progress?
Arguably, there are times when some psycho education may be helpful. Personally, I think this can be essential in specific instances, but the beliefs achieved as a result need to be firmly established as those of the individual, not the therapist! Therapists like me will however provide some structure for learning or re-learning where this can provide confidence and trust for change.
Back to the Horse
It really is ‘horses for courses’. Not all collaborations will work, that’s the stark reality. In my life before becoming a counsellor I had met and worked with five different counsellors over the years with my own challenges. It is fair to say that the lack of results from our work together was a primary driver for choosing to become a counsellor in my own right!
Finding Your Keys
In being accountable for searching for solutions ourselves, we are perhaps more empowered and in control of outcomes. If I see, as I did, five counsellors who were unable to help me, then it is for me to decide if I want to figure something out for myself, or to continue searching for the right fit in a therapist. Otherwise I am placing my future happiness in the hands of others.
On the other hand, if I have a less complex challenge, or I do find a counsellor I can truly work with, that counsellor may well provide the insight that will allow me to address what is no longer serving me. My message is this:
If you have experienced unsuccessful counselling, do continue to remain interested in the possibilities. Whether via your own curiosity and willingness to explore self-development or by continuing to meet new therapists.
You’re too important to accept anything less than what is best for you. We are all worth that much.
Would I be right for you? Who knows? Unless you call or write, we may never know!
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).