How Can Counselling Help?
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Counselling can help by acknowledging your pain; identifying ways to resolve your problems; clarifying your developmental goals; and helping you to identify and construct action strategies to get to where you would prefer to be.


by Dr Jim Byrne - 28th April 2014
Counselling can help in a number of different ways: with emotional functioning; behavioural functioning; relationship management and communication; goal setting and pursuit; refining problems; identifying solutions; promoting efficient and effective actions; and so on.

Outcomes can include that the client...:

1. ...thinks more clearly, or to better effect;

2. ...manages their emotions better, in that they no longer over-emote, nor under-emote, relative to their environmental situations;

3. ...behaves more effectively at home and at work;

4. ...feels happier; more alive; more integrated; more in control; more goal oriented; and so on.

I do not deal with "severe mental disorders", like major depression, schizophrenia, extreme bipolar disorder, and so on.

I deal with a range of client goals which have been classified as "remedial, developmental and growth (goals)". (Nelson-Jones, 2002, Essential Counselling and Therapy Skills, page 5).

Here are Nelson-Jones' definitions:

1. "Remedial goals focus on helping clients overcome deficiencies in normal functioning. Such clients, who form a minority of the population, may be anywhere from severely to moderately disturbed in their ability to function effectively". For example, about one third of the population will apparently suffer from anxiety or depression at some time in their lives; and more than a quarter of my clients tend to come from this group. In my experience, most of those who have come to see me can quickly get over problems of anxiety and/or depression (or anger/rage) with a few sessions of cognitive-emotive counselling. (See the Unsolicited Client Testimonials page).

2. "Developmental goals focus on the needs of (people who are not part of) the more disturbed minority". (However, in my [JB's] experience, virtually all of my clients are somewhat disturbed, or disturbable, and all of them are seeking some kind of help with 'problems of daily living'; and, though some may have goals that are more remedial, and some may be more developmental, the differences between them is not huge). Such goals may focus on preventing negative outcomes and on promoting positive changes associated with developmental tasks at various stages over the life-span: for instance, making friends at school, leaving home, finding a partner, establishing a career, raising children and adjusting to old age. Growth goals focus on helping clients attain higher levels of functioning than the average". More than half of my clients fit into this group of people who are seeking to satisfy developmental goals - often in connection with relationships, or careers, or life challenges.

3. "Growth goals focus on helping clients attain higher levels of functioning than the average". Less than a quarter of my clients tend to come from this group.

Overall, my perception is that most of my clients come to me with a mixture of remedial goals and developmental goals; and we can quickly clarify their goals, and they can quickly achieve them too, in just a few sessions of cognitive counselling. (That means, they leave me with a solution in hand, which they must continue to implement over the medium to long term, in order to sustain their counselling and therapy gains).

See also The Benefits of Counselling page.

What is counselling?

The ABC Counselling Division.