By Douglas Turner

I believe that if you feel there is someone listening carefully to you with some respectful understanding of your feelings then you begin to believe you are worth hearing, that you deserve some attention; that you are worth it.

I approach counselling in the belief that you have the answers to your unhappiness and in telling me about what is wrong you will hear the beginning of a way forward.

Together we can build on that beginning until your world changes from an unhappy to a more hopeful place, And in that hopeful place you have some coping skills should you need them again.

If you are physically ill there is usually a good chance you can be cured with the right diagnosis, correct prescriptions and careful nursing. If an accident leaves bits of you broken then bones can be set, plaster support applied and in time therapeutic exercises will enable those parts to function again. This we understand, can observe and test.

However, we do not give the same attention to the invisible hurt that can accompany illness and accident, loss and unhappy life history. The invisible hurt is not as straightforward as physical illness but it is as real. There is emotional internal bleeding going on long after the event that triggered it. There is an equivalent to scar tissue that restricts movement and numbs feelings. There is a whiplash effect of panic, depression and self-doubt.

Counselling seeks to address this invisible hurt: to heal, restore, renew. Counselling like medicine is a broad church. lt has it’s own jargon and contention within it’s ranks about the interpretation of symptoms and what makes for effective treatment.

For me, the most deceptive, the most demanding and the most effective form of counselling is called Person- Centred.

It is most deceptive because it sounds easy. It is not built on a vast theoretical base. It values instinct and attitude alongside intellectual ideas. Because it has no prescriptive formula but instead an insistence on rigorous integrity it is particularly demanding. It’s success depends on the counsellor removing the equivalent of the surgical mask, the rubber gloves and some of the professional distance.

So what might it be like for you on the receiving end of Person- Centred counselling? Mixed feelings I’d guess, some unexpected. perhaps anger and frustration because you are hurt and want advice and answers and you do not get them. Maybe frustration that this listener is not critical of those that have hurt you and not shocked by what you have done. Sometimes surprise that in the first time in a long while you are being listened to carefully and your feelings are being taken seriously. Eventually even a bit amazed that your life can be changed because you were able to talk and putting feelings into words for another to hear is the beginning of managing them for the better.

This is what you and your counsellor will work towards- the outcome, the product. But there is also something else going on that affects the healing – the process. This is the time you spend with your counsellor, what goes on between you. The message you should be getting from this safe stranger in this secure place is an assurance that you are worth taking seriously, that your concerns are real ones. Here is someone who sees strengths in you when you cannot and is optimistic about your future when you do not believe you have one. And yet you believe this counsellor is sincere and has some insights. So maybe you begin to realise they are seeing in you someone you dimly recognise from way back before you were so knocked about. Someone with a little more confidence, a little surer of where they are going.

[boxibt style=”success”]About the Author:


After a wide experience of Further and Adult Education, I am now concentrating on Counselling, Training and Supervision in a private capacity.

My supervisory experience encompasses individual work with counsellors and Diploma students and group supervision in the voluntary sector.

I have taught counselling at certificate and diploma level and will shortly be moderating courses for the A.B.C. (Centra) Examining Body.

I have been counselling individuals for some ten years with a Person-Centred approach informed by T.A. and some Cognitive notions.

…it helps to be heard.. COUNSELLING TRAINING SUPERVISION DOUGLAS TURNER M Ed. Dip.Ad.Ed.Dip.Counselling. B.AC. Accredited Practitioner Tel. 01926771447 Email: [/boxibt]