Expectations

It's been two years since my Mum passed away and I wanted to share my thoughts on how I am dealing with my loss and also as a Counsellor how our own personal experiences can help to understand our clients that have also suffered their own loss. I started having therapy in April and I was expecting the process to be harder and emotional but after the first 1-2 sessions I started to question my process. I was expecting to become emotional and wanting to further explore my loss with my Counsellor. I also questioned if I would have engaged more with a female Counsellor and also questioned the diversity in the client /counsellor relationship as my Counsellor was from Spain and English was not his first language.

What I did acknowledge is that my grief was not following the normal route of denial, anger and acceptance as I had definitely accepted that my Mum was not coming back. As Counsellors, we do need to consider that a client may not display emotions through the grieving process as they display other signs like I did in my sleeping patterns, eating patterns and lack of motivation.    

Also, as the client I found this process really frustrating and confusing as I wanted to feel something and I was looking for my Counsellor to help me but there didn't seem to be a connection between us either. Could my Counsellor have engaged more as I felt I wanted him too because I did ask him too. 

Another interesting thing I noticed was how I struggled to not perform the role of a Counsellor in the sessions as I was so used to sitting in the Counsellor's chair at home as I used the same room that I use to see my clients. I decided to change rooms as I think this was a mistake on my behalf as I couldn't switch off of my normal role of a Counsellor.      

Another thing to consider for Counsellors is what I have started to do more is to write my thoughts and feelings down, which can be done as part of the process and can be explored further during the sessions with your client. Or as I decided that I would write my thoughts and feelings as my only process and not continue with my sessions.

It wasn't a difficult decision for me as I wasn't getting anything from the sessions and this is something we all need to consider as Counsellors and be honest with our clients if we do experience a struggle or a block in the sessions and challenge our clients and ourselves to address this.  

For Counsellors, it's vital we do not ignore any diversity issues including language barriers and gender issues as I also questioned if my process would have been different if I had seen a female Counsellor, which was what I was previously comfortable with. As a client, should I have waited for a female Counsellor and could I still consider seeing one in the future?

Lastly for clients, all of the issues around diversity, gender, language, engagement are just as important because if you are not comfortable with these then your counselling experience may not be beneficial.