Value of Counselling
Here, Richard Cook explains what he sees as the value of counselling:
"I think counselling is not just a chance to talk, I think it’s a chance to talk to somebody who understands something about the process of growing and changing, and who can engage with the difficulties that people face.
A good friend or a good family member can engage compassionately and sensitively, but they don’t necessarily understand the change process. Counselling is about engaging with someone who is a good listener, but who is also skilled in a change process. That change process is not about telling a person what they need to do, it’s not about giving them a theory and just do these five things and you’ll be right, but it’s about engaging in a relationship and you bring into that relationship knowledge about how change happens. There are all sorts of different models about change but all of them are working with becoming more aware of the patterns and the habits of thinking about self and relationship with others and addressing ways of changing those over time."
Compassion & Fanning The Fires for Change
"For me, being a Counsellor.... it’s about compassion, feeling for people in all kinds of distress. I think that’s what first brought me into it and to some extent a feeling of powerless about what to do with the extent of difficult and suffering and need, and wanting to have some tools to do something about that. What I discovered along the way was that that sense of powerless was not always a useful thing to motivate me because it made me a bit too anxious about needing to be helpful. What I learnt is that actual change is owned by the person who wants the change, and that having a compassionate listener is really important.
As that listener, I recognise that I am now not wanting to take too much responsibility for the person's change or invest too much energy, I need to actually be listening for their energy for change. Now I would say it’s not so much about needing to help or wanting to help, but wanting to affirm and fan into flame the desires for change that people have in their own lives."
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