Counselling takes place when a counsellor meets with a client in a private confidential setting to explore together some area of difficulty, distress, dissatisfaction or uncertainty that the client is experiencing. The client must always be a willing, active participant in the process. No one can really be 'sent' for counselling by another.
As counselling proceeds, the counsellor listens carefully and patiently to the client and begins to perceive and understand things from the client's point of view. As the counsellor reflects their understanding back to the client, this can help the client see things more clearly, possibly from a different perspective. This process helps the client understand, address and resolve the difficulties they are experiencing in life.
Counsellors do not give advice or direct any particular course of action. Nor do they judge, or exploit their clients in any way. They may help the client consider and explore all the options available to them in any particular situation and help them decide the best way forward for themselves.
During counselling sessions, clients are able to explore whatever aspects of their life they wish, talking about their thoughts and feelings freely and openly, in a way that's rarely possible with friends and family. When feelings such as anger, shame, anxiety and grief are bottled up they can become very intense. Talking freely and openly about them in counselling sessions gives the client opportunity to explore, understand and manage their feelings, reducing distress.
Counsellors offer a relationship in which the client feels accepted, respected and valued. Together the counsellor and client build a real relationship in which trust can flourish. This enables the client to look deeper into areas of their life, their relationships and themselves, including things they have been afraid or ashamed to address before.