A counsellor helps you change the meaning you've (unconsciously) given, to certain events in life, that are now holding you back.
Here is how the mind works, in day-to-day life:
1) Events happen
2) We give the events meaning
The thing is, we *must* make meaning from the external events in life, as our unconscious mind must ascertain, extremely quickly, whether the event is (i) supportive to our survival or (ii) a threat to our survival.
The human brain evolved to very quickly make survival-level decisions like this, as taking the time to have a deep discussion with an approaching tiger/lion/other wildebeast, may not have been too conducive to our survival.
But, as we've evolved over time, the number of events we witness in the outside world, has dramatically increased, and our ability to assign meaning to them, has also increased, impressively.
To the point where it's extremely easy for many events to occur in the outside world, our mind to give a certain (unuseful) meaning to them, and for that meaning to continue to limit us, our behaviour, and perceptions, for a long time thereafter.
Usually, we arrive at counselling, at the point where something is troubling us.
We typically don't know, consciously, exactly what caused this (what event we gave what meaning to) - it is the counsellor's role to help you unearth the meanings you're assigning to certain events in the outside world - and to help you see them from a different perspective - such that you are able to forgive the person/event, release the hurt, and move on with life, productively.
How does this work in practice?
Sometimes this means going back a little in time, tracking down the original event you gave a certain meaning to, and helping you see that differently.
Sometimes this original event is very obvious to us, like a huge trauma, or something we can't get over.
Other times, the original event won't be so obvious, and working with current day events with a similar theme, will help.
The counsellor should be able to help you:
(i) See the event, such that it means something different to you,
(ii) See the event, such that you're able to see it from a different perspective,
(iii) ...or, help you notice/realise certain aspects of the event, you didn't see before
...thus allowing you to move past the event, and forgive.
The web is awash with counselling blogs, experts and specialists all explaining in book-length form, how counselling helps.
Counselling can help multiple issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and much more.
As above, usually, all we need to do is change the meaning of an event.
And how is that done?
Let's not complicate this.
We've all arrived at certain beliefs (conclusions about what things mean) over time, and given events certain meaning, either based on our best guess at the time, or common consensus.
You and I could easily agree that the desk I'm writing from is the colour brown. That is the common consensus, and what most humans would conclude.
However, the science of visual perception and the colour spectrum, clearly explains that the desk is in fact every colour *except* brown - the desk is reflecting every colour in the spectrum except brown - and this combination appears in human visual perception, as what we know as, "brown".
So...we took a meaning we previously held dear, gave it a little context from science, and now we can both agree that the desk is probably not brown at all.
This is an exaggeration to illustrate a point of course.
In the same way, when you think of an event that bothers you, can you give it a little context, to help?
Do you see how these questions open up the context of the event, giving you more space to assign it a different meaning, and thus release the pain?
Counselling helps because it helps you change the context of events, thus changing their meaning, releasing the pain, and helping you move on in life.
Hope it helps.
Our counsellors adhere to the BACP code of ethics and practice.