When we think of counselling, individual counselling is usually one of the types that come to mind. It’s intended for people struggling with personal life stressors who require individualized help. Other types of counselling include marriage and couples counselling, family counselling, and group counselling. These help clients work on communication, empathy, and how to have healthy interpersonal relationships with others overall. All these different groups of people receive specific counselling suited to their needs.
Individual counselling is one of the most popular forms of counselling I help people with as part of my Counselling Therapist program and internship at Moving Forward Family Service (MFFS). Within the scope of individual counselling, there are varied counselling techniques based on why the client is seeking help. Clients talk about the personal hardships they face, and some of the common issues I support my clients with include anxiety, depression, self-esteem and body image.
I take a personalized approach to support my clients because one method can’t be applied to everyone. For example, when I help a client work through their anxiety, I challenge them to overcome their fears by exposing them to their triggers in small doses. I see how anxious they feel when faced with that trigger and help them through their anxiety.
With clients want to build their self-esteem, I ask them to read ten qualities they admire about themselves. I then have my client place this list somewhere they can see it every day. The list serves as a reminder that they possess many unique and positive qualities.
Many couples seek counselling for the different problems they face within their relationship. Couples counselling is an excellent place for couples to establish new and healthy ways of communicating, changing unhealthy patterns, and solving other problems. Couples counselling takes commitment from each person in the relationship.
Many people believe that couples counselling should only be pursued when serious problems arise in relationships. This misconception often prevents couples from seeking counselling, and they wait until the issues become more significant and frequent. People in couples counselling can seek individual counselling so each person in the relationship can work on their problems, which can have a positive effect on their relationship as a couple.
Family counselling involves the entire family in the counselling process. Counsellors work with families to establish new communication patterns and change unhealthy habits. At MFFS, I often help families with their communication styles. I have family members play games together to help improve their communication skills and grow closer as a family.
Adjusting to significant transitions is also a prevalent issue among families. Many families seek counselling to help children cope with the parents separating or divorcing. By only working with the children alone, it helps them open up and express their genuine feelings about how the transition is affecting them.
My clients who have had both individual and family counselling have told me that the work they have done in family counselling has been entirely different from the work they have done in individual counselling.
Group counselling consists of a group of people that share a common struggle. I’ve had several group counselling experiences where I teach clients coping skills for anxiety, including management and mindfulness. Group counselling helps clients feel they are not alone and can relate to each other because sharing experiences helps people support each other.
There are many techniques and therapy I can use for group counselling. One popular method is art therapy. In my experience, clients enjoy art therapy because it allows them to express themselves artistically with others.
Every type of counselling has a different purpose in helping clients. Individual counselling is beneficial for those who want one-on-one personalized help. My clients in family counselling say that they are better able to empathize with their family members when they are calmly discussing their feelings. Clients who participate in group counselling tell me they felt less alone in their struggles because their fellow group members were experiencing similar issues.
I enjoy helping a variety of different clients. Interning at MFFS has given me an invaluable experience I will carry into my counselling career.