I guarantee and respect your right to confidentiality. Counselling is an intensely personal pursuit, and you ought to expect that any therapist you consult, would hold what you tell them in strictest confidence.
As in all therapy though, there are times when confidentiality is NOT an absolute.
If you disclose to a therapist that you intend to harm yourself or someone else, they are legally bound to discuss the necessity to alert a third party in order to protect your safety.
In my professional career I have never had to exercise this, and would NOT do so without first discussing this with you.
People mostly do not make a decision to seek counselling lightly. It is often made after careful consideration. One factor that prompts people to consider counselling is that their usual methods of tackling a problem haven't met with success, and so they seek counselling to help them with news ideas and new ways of tackling a problem.
In other situations, people become faced with situations or problems they have little or no experience with, and so want some help and guidance about how to proceed.
Some people might come to counselling to talk about issues that they don't feel able to talk to family or friends about, for instance, sexuality or addiction problems.
Some people come to counselling because they worry that their friends may be sick of hearing about a problem that is ongoing or longstanding. People also seek counselling because they feel it can help to talk to someone independent, someone outside their circle of family and friends.
You may have another reason for wanting to try counselling. The most important thing to remember is...
don't persist with a counsellor you don't trust or feel comfortable with. It's your right to choose who you talk to, don't settle for less than what feels right for you!
How Long Will Counselling Take?
How many counselling sessions will it take to move past the problem?
This is a difficult question to answer as it depends very much on the individual circumstances. Some people seem surprised that it didn't take as long as they might have expected. Some problems shift quite readily, other problems can take more work due to factors like how long the problem has been there, or the presence of other associated problems, or whether the person has adequate supports and resources.
The important thing to remember is that counselling goes on for as long (or short) as you feel is right.
Should I See A Counsellor, A Psychologist, Or A Psychiatrist?
The most important factor in who you decide to see to help with your problems and issues, is that YOU decide who you would like to see.
Some things to consider in making the decision:
Find someone you feel comfortable with.
Psychiatrists may be more helpful where there is a serious mental illness.
Psychiatrists will prescribe medications where they are needed.
You would need a GP referral to see a psychiatrist (and some psychologists), you do not need a referral to see me.
Counsellors may charge less than psychologists and almost certainly charge less than psychiatrists.
Counsellors and psychologists may do more 'talk therapy'.
The 'right' therapist can be a matter of 'chemistry'. Someone you don't feel comfortable with, or who you don't feel is sympathetic to your life, IS NOT the right person (for you)...you can do better.
Don't trust your life and your story to someone who doesn't respect you.
Medication and Counselling
Sometimes people are concerned about whether medication would help them deal with the difficult issues like depression and anxiety. Other people might worry about whether taking medication is the right thing for them to do. There is no right or wrong answer on these questions.
Some people can get through tough circumstances with the assistance of counselling alone, other people prefer the assistance medication can offer in helping them deal with their situation.
Where people decide to use medication, it may be wise to use counselling as well to address the underlying issues which brought about the difficulties in the first place, otherwise there is a risk of problem rebound when the medication is stopped.