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‘What To Expect From Counselling. A Guide For First Time Clients’, by Clare Slaney sets out to talk the reader through the counselling process via all aspects and avenues that it entails. Within the first few pages, Slaney opens by establishing the thought that often as with life, we live in a world where there seems to be an instant answer for everything and a quick solution. But this straightforward approach may not satisfy all our needs and every situation. In some cases, we need the room and freedom to explore our options and even take risks, not just a ‘one-size fits all’ solution, and thus discusses that such an opportunity is opened to clients via counselling.
She defines what counselling should mean to the client, what it enables them to do and how they may achieve this result. She believes that within counselling, the onus lies with the client. The counsellor is someone who should walk alongside them as they navigate this journey of exploration and progression, and most importantly someone to listen to whatever the client wants to talk about (not tell them what to do or what to think), emphasising the importance of personal authority both as part of the counselling process, and for the individual themselves.
As the title indicates, her book reads as ‘A Guide For First Time Clients’, predominantly considering counselling from the client’s perspective and talking readers through the process. But to a certain degree, her words also resonate with counsellors and psychotherapists themselves. Whether it be as a helping work of guidance to new or trainee counsellor looking to someone with experience, or a more established counsellor interested in another therapist’s approach as well as seeing the process from a client’s point of view.
With her own insight as an accredited counsellor for over 20 years, Slaney’s book informs the reader of the counselling process, breaking it down into sections and keeping the guide under 40 pages so as not to overload or overwhelm with information during what may be a challenging time. There remains such a quizzical stigma surrounding the topic of mental health and counselling, one which in modern society feels both dated and inaccurate – and Slaney raises some of the main reasons why many people may feel reluctant to come to counselling for the first time, what may be holding them back. What is more, therapy and counselling can also appear to be a minefield to the unknowing. With so many methods and approaches available to clients it is a daunting thought to know which to choose. She helpfully talks through some of the main modes of therapy, enlightening readers on how it could work for the individual and what you may encounter during the counselling process, how to decipher whether a therapist is the right one for you, and what you can expect when coming to therapy for the first time. Slaney reassures and challenges a variety of apprehensions that may play on a new client’s mind, leaving the reader feeling supported and encouraged for whatever step they decide to take.
Slaney’s book is available via Amazon, for Kindle or electronic copy.
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