As Happy as We Intend to Be!

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!

False Expectations

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?

Psycho Education

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!

About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

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).


  1. Well said Bob. When we are looking for someone to cure us, we give the therapist all the power and it is hard to walk away even if we feel we don’t really fit and/or are not getting an benefit from the therapy. When we decide to take responsibility for our own wellness, it is much easier to meet a therapist for the first time with the intention of figuring out if this therapist is a good fit for us and we’re a good fit for them (equally as important)!

    I have also found that as I change and evolve, there comes a point where I have learned what I needed to from my therapist (and they from me) and it is time to move on to another therapist with a different perspective or who looks at my experiences through a lens that I feel would be more beneficial. I think this is also healthy.

    It is a process for sure but so worth it. Like you said, we all deserve to get that kind of help resonant therapy can bring.

    And I can tell Bob–though I have never worked with you–you are an excellent councillor by what I know of your beliefs, methods and the value-added information you make available. I say this coming from seeing a whole lot of different practitioners since 1999 and now knowing what to look for.

    • Thanks so much for your kind feedback, Trish. I think comments such as these are so poignant, knowing as I now understand how long your journey has – and continues to be.

      My warmest wishes


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