How To Resolve An Issue Through Counselling
FAQ Series: How Does Counselling Help?
We often talk about how counselling helps us feel better - but how?
When we speak about feeling better about an issue, we usually mean:
All of this sounds great in principle. The tricky bit is in the doing of course.
Events .v. Meaning
Events happen in life. And we have to cope with them. That's it really.
A part of the mind assigns meaning to *every* event in the outside world. We have to.
We have to decide, at an unconscious level, whether each event is conducive to our survival, or a threat to our survival. I guess it's from our caveman ancestors.
How To See Events Differently, Via Counselling
Start by making a clear distinction between the event in the outside world, and the meaning you gave it.
A fictitious example:
Event .v. Meaning
1) Separate the external event, from the meaning you're giving it.
What did I actually see in the outside world?
Now, compare this, to the meaning "I will go broke".
Did I really see the belief "I will be broke" in the outside world? Or was that a conclusion I jumped to?
If I really can see "I will be broke" in the outside world:
At this point, most will concede that we didn't truly see the belief in the outside world, we just "made it up", or it was a conclusion we jumped to, in the absence of other, more accurate context.
(Often, this conclusion is consistent with other conclusions we've drawn in the past, about similar events.)
Is This The Only Possible Meaning? ...Or Are There Others?
2) Is this really, the only version of events that's possible?
Again, consider the event - another store opening up.
If five of my friends saw this same event, what different conclusions might they draw, from the same event, other than the conclusion I arrived at - "I will be broke"?
...and so on.
Can you see from this exercise that there is no one *fixed* meaning attached to another store opening up - but rather, a number of *possible* meanings?
No *One* Truth
Isn't it possible, that any of our friends' conclusions, could explain the meaning of the store opening up, just as well as, or better than, the conclusion I arrived at?
In other words, my conclusion was only *the one that I arrived at*, and not necessarily *the* truth.
Our friends have illustrated that there is more than one possible "truth" for an event, that initially may seem daunting.
Events Have No *Inherent* Meaning
3) Now, if I didn't actually see my conclusion in the outside world, and the event itself has many different possible interpretations, can you see that the external event - another store opening up - actually has no *inherent* meaning at all? (until we decide to assign one).
In other words, there is no meaning baked into external events at all - only the meaning we (unconsciously) decide to superimpose upon them.
Our unconcious mind assigns meaning to events so quickly, and we are so unaware of it - that it *seems* like we didn't do it - but we did. It just happens so quickly.
And, if we can chose to assign a different meaning to this particular event, can you see that this is possible for......all the events of our lives?
The reason we don't process events all "manually" in the conscious mind, is simply that we have evolved to cope with a colossal volume of incoming information each and every day.
To consciously take the time to decide what each one means, individually, would simply take too many resources, and too much time.
Beliefs Become Behaviour
Some patterns, however, can get stuck. Others are... just not useful.
When one becomes too much of a problem in your daily life, too often - is when most will begin to seek out counselling.
Your counsellor can help you identify patterns in your problem, and behaviour, you might not have noticed.
Working on the conclusions you've made in the past, can help to release these behaviours, beliefs, and help you see the events differently, just like we did above.
This is how issues get resolved through counselling. This is how you feel better.
Would working on these elements of the past make a difference in *your* life?
Our counsellors adhere to the BACP code of ethics and practice.
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