As a society, we’re learning to have better conversations about mental health. In years gone by, people may have been nervous, afraid or even embarrassed to admit that they were struggling and, although that undoubtedly remains the case for many, there is a feeling that the stigma is slowly being lifted with each passing day.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on mental health as the world ground to a halt. Amid fears regarding our physical wellbeing, anxiety was heightened by a lack of human interaction with our loved ones.
The result was a surge in demand for mental-health counsellors, with the number of vacancies increasing 671% from pre-pandemic levels. Thankfully, more and more people seem willing to open up and discuss their problems but, as a counsellor, that means that it’s arguably more important than ever that you go above and beyond to provide the support that they need. Here are a few ways in which you can do that.
Your prospective clients could be seeking help with all manner of things – relationships, grief, anxiety, body image, identity, to name just a few. Although you may be able to offer support across all of these areas, you might find it more beneficial to your clients if you specialise in one or two fields and do those extremely well. It might also make it easier for them to find you in the first place.
Prepare your paperwork
Your full focus will always be on your clients, but it is important to ensure that you are also protected: you may find peace of mind with a counsellors’ insurance policy that provides the specific type of cover you need. To have become a counsellor in the first place, of course, you will have obtained a number of official qualifications. It may help to display these on the walls of your office, to further reassure your clients that they are speaking to someone who has the required expertise in that field.
Offer virtual sessions
We all had to get used to video-conference technology as our go-to method of communication during the height of the pandemic. And there’s no reason why this can’t extend to the counsellor-client relationship.
You may prefer to conduct your sessions in person, as there is a certain connection that is missing over a virtual call, but you need to take into account your client’s needs. It may be inconvenient, too expensive or simply impossible for them to travel to you to receive the support that they require – not to mention an additional source of stress.
Take your time
Counselling is all about listening to your clients and taking the time to understand their situation and how it has affected them. Only then can you start to offer solutions that may help them cope or deal with their struggles. You need to gain their trust and the foundations for that can only be laid by allowing them to tell their story in their own time and in their own words.