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Does Counselling Work?

by Dixon Zalit, Counsellor in Vernon BC

Quick Summary:

No, counselling does not work when,

  • Your counsellor does not understand you

  • You don't feel comfortable with your counsellor

  • You want someone else to make changes

  • You avoid talking about your thoughts or emotions

Yes, Counselling works when,

  • Your counsellor understands you

  • You feel comfortable talking with your counsellor

  • You are looking for change in yourself

  • You are willing to talk about how your mind and feelings work

Sad but true, you can go to counselling and not get lasting effects. It happens a lot. Since counselling is expensive, it's worth putting the right conditions in place

Counselling Office with Chairs and Couch

If Your Counsellor Understands You.

You, the client, will know this early on. You should get a sense that your counsellor really gets what you are struggling with and they don't judge you. Your counsellor doesn't need to have the same experiences, they just need to be able to relate with you and in a way that you can believe.

If you feel comfortable with your counsellor, with describing your fears, hopes and painful experiences, then you will be able to get to the bottom of issues that matter. That comfort is hard to put in scientific terms, but you will know when you know. Trust your judgment.

Research has shown that the strongest effects in counselling are not from the type of therapy, but from the actual quality of your relationship with the counsellor. A relationship that has trust, teamwork, strategies and accountability helps the most.

If You Have Decided to Change

You don't even need to know exactly what the change is, just that you want it and you are ready to start. The only person you can really control is

If plain old advice worked, we wouldn't need counsellors. We could just put into practice the advice of our friends, mentors or other successful individuals. Humans don't work that way. And the worst habits are not our actions. Our worst habits are patterns of thinking and feeling. That is why we don't take common sense advice about eating healthy, exercising more and saving money either. Our thoughts and feelings keep us stuck.

A good counsellor will help you challenge beliefs about yourself and others that keep you in distress. A good counsellor will help you examine the range of feelings and gut reactions that occur inside of you. Some of those feelings are good guides to what you need to do. Other feelings are steering you the sideways and your counsellor well help you let go of those, with your willingness.

If You Start "Awareness" of Thoughts and Feelings

Awareness is a buzzword that some don't like. I look at it like this: How can you stop your truck from overheating, boiling over and blowing the engine on a hot summer day in the mountains? Just watch the temperature gauge. That's it. Once you pay attention to that little gauge moving up and down, you will know when to stop and cool down, when to keep going. Awareness is just noticing what is happening for you. It can change everything.

When you tell your counsellor what happens in your life, they will ask, "what did that feel like, what did your mind start thinking about?" The painful part of anxiety, depression or aftermath of trauma is what happens in the mind. Your counsellor will ask you to pay attention to what is happening in your mind, even your body. That may seem strange at first, and then you may notice how much unrecognized turmoil is going on in there.

When any of us step back and look at how events of our childhood, teenage years, relationships or traumatic experiences shaped our thoughts and feelings of today, we become wiser, more thoughtful. We can take stock of the changes that need to be made, or cannot be made. We also can become more accepting of ourselves and others. That can bring relief, even healing.

Counsellor Dixon Zalit stitting at a table with coffee

I'm Dixon Zalit,

Registered Counsellor in Vernon BC

RTC 2921

If you are interested in talking with me about counselling, I would be glad to hear from you.

or call 236-600-9923



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