Counseling is an accessible form of (emotional) assistance. In counseling, a person is - together with a therapist (psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist) - looking for causes and solutions for problems, for insights, analyses, formulation of emotions, etc.
In the conversations, mental and social causes of the symptoms are addressed. It is considered how a different view of life can lead to a reduction of symptoms and searched for (other) ways to deal with the problems. As an outsider, the therapist often has a different view of the case and can bring clarification by asking specific questions. But not only asking questions works in counseling, just a listening ear, getting feedback and getting recognition work very beneficial. The therapist has undivided attention for the patient and goes into conversation with him or her without judgement.
In addition to talking, the therapist usually combines the conversation with other therapeutic methods. Which methods are used, depends on the therapy movement, in which the therapist has been trained.
The therapist guides people who have fallen into a situation privately or at work, which is experienced as painful, inconvenient or unwanted. Counseling is aimed at gaining insight into these problems and situations. Through this insight, the patient learns to better deal with the existing problems.
Depending on the intake, a counseling course is started. Such a course consists of individual conversations from one to one and a half hour.
Counseling is a structured process to improvement:
- First, the problems and questions are identified.
- Secondly, goals are determined.
- Thirdly, a strategy is drawn up to actually achieve the goals.
When performing the chosen step-to-step plan, the therapist continuously acts as a sounding board. That’s important, because despite the fact that improvement is positive, change usually provokes fears. A therapist is aware of this. Via consultation, the patient is therefore continuously stimulated to realize the desired change(s).
In counseling, you learn to understand yourself better, to accept your own strengths and weaknesses, to set boundaries better, you know to identify your own preferences and better deal with worries, sadness, fear and stress.
- Counseling assumes that people are helped when the counselor meets four conditions: empathy, unconditional acceptance, congruence and reliability.