Counselling is a form of psychological support which can be used to help people through a number of difficulties. It can help people with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as helping them cope with things like relationship problems, work stress and addictions.

The main purpose of counselling is to provide a safe, non-judgemental space for people to discuss their problems with an impartial person who is trained in listening skills and in understanding the nature of these difficulties. Counsellors are able to offer their clients a different perspective on their issues, and can use questioning as an active way of increasing their understanding of the client’s words and feelings. Counsellors can also help to increase awareness of the ways that certain beliefs or attitudes may be contributing to the client’s problems, and can assist in finding new solutions.

Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytic approach to counselling which is characterised by empathetic understanding and unconditional positive regard for their clients. During the initial interview, counsellors try to build a strong bond of trust with their clients by using verbal and non-verbal cues to demonstrate their genuine investment in their clients’ wellbeing.

Most professional counsellors will explain their confidentiality policy to clients, and will only disclose information if they believe that someone is at risk of harming themselves or others. In addition, most counsellors are able to offer their clients the option of sessions on an ongoing basis, which can help them develop more sustainable coping strategies.

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