I had a peek into an accidental journey of self-discovery when I met a counsellor and went through a series of counselling sessions. I was always fascinated by human psychology, hence decided to get trained as a counsellor.
Apart from training on counselling skills, one also had to experience counselling as a client. This is done to work on one’s own emotional baggage, so as to be fully present for the clients as a counsellor. So, my journey as a client began not as a voluntary one, but as a mandatory requirement to become a counsellor.
The first session with the Counsellor
Since it was not a voluntary one, I was struggling with what issues to present to my counsellor. My life was perfect; no dramas, no anger issues, no in-laws issues. I always put other’s needs before mine. Most of my life I have been a very responsible person. With all these thoughts racing in my mind, to be honest, I dreaded the first session.
The night before the session I remember tossing and turning. The next day, I decided since I did not have much to talk, at least let me dress well and make a good impression. I remember, I practiced a few lines on what to say to my counsellor when I met.
As I entered the room, I could hear my heart beating so loud I was sure that my counsellor could hear it too. I sat there anxiously going through the motion of giving relevant details to the counsellor. And thinking about my well-rehearsed lines but all of that seems to have vanished into thin air.
Counselling that relaxes the client
As we started the session, I realized how effortlessly the counsellor was putting me at ease and how easily the conversations just flowed. Strangely, the counsellor was more interested in hearing what I thought, how I felt in a certain situation rather than what others felt or thought.
‘Strange’, because all my life I seem to have prioritized others’ thoughts and feelings. It felt like the first time my thoughts and emotions were valued and important. The genuine interest and the empathy from the counsellor were so powerful that I felt heard and seen, after such a long time. I remember coming out of the room, light as a feather and beaming away to glory. The euphoric feeling, that I experienced that day is very hard to describe and can only be felt.
Counselling process – providing a safe and warm space
I was amazed at how my feeling transformed about the counselling process from a space of anxiety to eagerness, feeling secure and safe just within a span of few sessions. The holding of space, the warmth, the understanding that I felt during each session, helped me see myself and others through new lenses.
I asked myself why I had not given this space of counselling a thought earlier. I wondered what is the fuss and stigma in general that we have about counselling!
During the process of counselling, the unfolding of what made me ‘me’, how and why I behave or feel a certain way was a huge eyeopener. This unfolding helped me discover the lost ‘me’. Through the course of various sessions, I came across my ‘strengths’ that seemed buried deep down. I didn’t even know that these virtues even existed in me.
Self Discovery through the Counselling process
All along, prominence was mostly given to areas that required to be worked upon. Knowing and accessing my strengths, literally felt like I have a self-powered battery within myself. I could think and use this beautiful energy within myself, to propel me from the space of self-doubt and fear, to a space of confidence and courage. Today my new internal cocoon feels safe and warm.
I believe the counselling process is like a mirror, that allows you to see within yourself; and, provides the platform for introspection. Respecting and being kind to others often come easily for most of us. Though being kind to oneself can be a hard affair. This space allows us to look at ourselves in better light.
My beautiful odyssey will continue to be about learning to respect others and myself, even in the most trying and challenging situations. Also, a gift to my own self, to look at myself in a kinder light, which in turn makes my life and world look brighter and meaningful today!
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha
Hema Sreedharan is on the Counsellors & Therapists panel at InfinumGrowth and available for online consultations.
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