People engage with mental health professionals for a wide variety of reasons. You could be becoming overwhelmed with stress at work, or having difficulty in your relationships with friends or family. If you feel troubled, grieved or unable to make decisions, a mental health professional can help. If you have experienced a critical event, like a death, accident, change of job or have been the victim of a crime it may be time to seek help and support.
Things should improve when you link in with a therapist. Recovery is sometimes like a rollercoaster. You can experience moments of feeling down or moments when you feel a lot better. In general, you should feel a change and notice a change within the first 10 sessions with a therapist. If you do not feel things are progressing in the way you feel they should, discuss this with your therapist and they can then try something different to help you. Communicating your worries is important and allows the therapist to understand how you are progressing through your sessions.
Therapists, when they first meet you, will go over a contract with you and ask you for emergency contact information and details of your GP. This information is confidential but would be used in the instance where the therapist feels that you are a risk to yourself or to others. The therapist may then tell you about themselves and their background. They will then ask you to discuss why you have decided to link in with the service. It is important to build a relationship with your therapist, this allows for you to feel comfortable enough to discuss personal feelings.
There is no definitive answer to this question and it will most certainly depend on the reasons for attending a counsellor. Some people can attend counselling for years due to a significant trauma or ongoing difficulties, but some people may only need to attend for a few months before feeling secure and safe enough, with the guidance of a counsellor to take a break or ceasing sessions. A counsellor will not continue seeing you for appointments if they feel that they are no longer necessary and will develop a plan to slowly ease you from sessions over the course of a few weeks or months.