“Every client is unique and every session is different.” Some of the most commonly asked questions we receive, from people who are curious about therapy, are ‘What happens in a session’ or ‘How does it work?’ We can never give a specific answer to these questions – one, because of client confidentiality and two, because every client has their own individual issues and struggles that they wish to address, and because they will each have their own coping methods and outlets in place.
Recently, a client who had been having therapy sessions with Fortis wrote to share their experience of face-to-face counselling and video call sessions both before and during the current Covid-19 lockdown. They have very kindly allowed us to share their words and their therapist wanted to offer their perspective as a professional working through this time, too.
We hope it gives an insight into what the role of the therapist is and how therapy can change ways of thinking.
Therapy from a client’s perspective
“I started counselling sessions with my therapist in February and I’m now having weekly sessions with her via FaceTime because of the lockdown. Both in person and virtually, I find therapy to be really helpful for my sense of self, personal development, and wellbeing. It allows me to talk about problems in my life and my innermost feelings that I wouldn’t usually have chance to talk about, without the fear of being judged.
“For me, talking through these problems, feelings, and thoughts with my therapist has helped me to come to terms with them myself and understand myself better in the process. As a person, I tend to veer into the ‘self-destructive’ route of coping with my feelings and problems, but therapy has often helped me to see my problems from a different perspective and cope with them in a healthier way, which is more beneficial to me and my mental health.
“The thing with therapy is that you have to be prepared to do a lot of the work yourself after the session has ended. For example, I find it really helpful to be set little tasks at the end of each session. I find it cathartic to write things down, as I feel that doing so helps me to make sense of a problem or my feelings, and get them out of my head and onto paper. I think having these tasks to do alongside weekly therapy sessions is a great combination because it allows you to do the work yourself outside of sessions.
“The first FaceTime session we did after the lockdown was announced felt a bit strange at first, but I’m completely used to it now and I get the same benefits doing therapy this way as I would from coming into the centre – just without the free coffee and biscuit! No matter what problems you’re facing in life, therapy is such a great way of getting things off your chest, learning how to deal with things life throws at you in a healthier way, and getting to know yourself better in the process.”
Therapy from the therapist’s perspective
“I have been a therapist for ten years and I continue to access constant professional development to inform and enhance my way of working, so that I can offer each client an appropriate and unique experience of counselling, helping them to understand their emotions, attain greater self-awareness, and move forward with their issues. My role is to facilitate their process, assist them on their journey, step into their shoes and empower them to make changes to areas of their lives they are struggling with. Every client is unique and every session is different. There are very few constants in counselling and psychotherapy, other than the two comfy seats and a quiet space.
“When Lockdown began and we were told to stay at home, it felt like that constant had disappeared. How was I now able to support each client, sense their emotions, dispute their irrational thoughts and consider their steps forward when we couldn’t sit together in the same room? I could still communicate with clients but in a virtual way with a call, or video session, but would it be the same?
“Yes, it felt strange at first but with practice, I realised that virtual therapy sessions are just like face-to-face sessions. They may take place in a client’s front room, bedroom, attic, shed, car, or garden but they still allow us to work together therapeutically and we still have two comfy seats and a quiet space.”