What pops up in KALMers’ mind when you hear the word ‘counselling’? Perhaps KALMers would think counseling is only for those who are very distressed. KALMers may also be afraid of being thought of as a crazy person if you do go to a counsellor. Or perhaps there are other thoughts such as: counselling is useless; counselling is a waste of money/time; or during counselling, counsellors only ask their clients to tell their problems but they wouldn’t give any solutions to the clients. But, are these all true? Is counselling meant only for those who have severe mental problems? Is counselling actually not helpful at all?
Of course, these questions could only be answered if KALMers have attended a counselling session before. Therefore, the KALM team has interviewed someone who has done a few counselling sessions. We will call them, W. W is an undergraduate student who turns 21 years old this year. W has received both offline counselling and online counselling with KALM application. What kind of counselling experience did W go through? Let’s find out together!
W’s Offline Counselling : Expectation and Reality
W’s first counselling session happened during high school. At that time, the counselling was done by W’s school counsellor. During the counselling session, W felt fine. However, after the counselling session ended, W felt embarrassed. The reason for W’s embarrassment was because their school counsellor—someone who was close to W outside the counselling—has known all of their problems. The embarrassment was slowly diminished after W stopped the counselling session with the school counsellor.
W had another counselling session from the end of 2019 until the early months of 2020. For this counselling session, W was referred by their friend. That’s right, KALMers, counselling can be referred by friends or family. W agreed to do the counselling but the counsellor should be someone they weren’t acquainted with outside the counselling session. W didn’t want to repeat the same experience they had encountered during high school. Before the counselling, W had a clearer vision about the counselling process because they were also an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. They have learned the theory and practice of the counselling. Even so, W still had a specific expectation which was they might be crying during the counselling session.
W told us that the experience of each counselling session was never the same, KALMers. During the early counselling session, W was uncomfortable. However, W knew that they needed counselling for their own good. At that time, W was having a really tough time.
At the next counselling sessions, W felt that they still haven’t gained anything from the counselling. There were also some counselling sessions that left an impression on W: “That’s it?” But, by time, W started to feel comfortable with their counsellor and they also received many insights or new perspectives on how to see their problems.
And then, what kind of emotions did W feel after the counselling session? Usually, we’d think that they would feel relieved. In actuality, after the counselling session ended, W has never felt relieved.
Huh, how so?
This doesn’t mean that W’s counsellor wasn’t doing the right things or doesn’t help, KALMers. For W, their counsellor still gave them the aid that they needed. True, the feelings that we felt after the counselling session were not always relieved. There are a lot of emotions KALMers would feel. Apart from relieved which KALMers experienced after sharing something important and felt heard and understood, KALMers could also feel:
- Energized, if KALMers has started to understand something new about yourselves or KALMers has set a new goal in KALMers’ lives.
- Exhausted, if KALMers found the counselling session was challenging or needed some efforts.
- Frustrated, if KALMers didn’t get what KALMers wanted after the counselling session ended or haven’t felt heard or understood.
- Upset or overwhelmed, if the counselling sessions has brought up painful or difficult memories for KALMers.
…and there’s still a lot of other kinds of emotions. All of these emotions are very normal things to experience, KALMers. The presence of these emotions signaled the process of counselling is currently occurring and KALMers are being developed during the counselling session.
Then, how about online counselling? Is the experience any different with offline counselling? Luckily, W has received both types of counselling. Last May, W used KALM application to do an online counselling (you can download KALM application with this link).
Before counselling, W thought the process would be the same as offline counselling; the only different thing is the counselling was done through chatting. Although it is true the counselling system in KALM is through chatting, the chatting system in KALM isn’t real-time like the other chatting applications, KALMers. For that reason, the counsellor couldn’t reply to W’s messages immediately. However, W understood that their counsellor also had other clients and had their own lives which made them couldn’t reply to their messages promptly.
Although different from offline counselling, W still felt online counselling helped them a lot because, during the pandemic, online counselling is the ‘safer’ option to seek help compared to offline counselling since there’s no physical contact in online counselling. Furthermore, online counselling is the immediate help which W could seek anywhere and anytime. Even though the counselling tends to be more loose, W still gained benefits from online counselling. The counsellors has given W many insights, as well some advice about what W can do right now to face their problems (action-based).
To Counsel or Not To Counsel?
After KALMers has read the counselling experience from above, has KALMers gained a clearer vision about the counselling session? A counselling’s process is never an easy journey. Even so, counselling is the bridge between confusion and clarity. Counsellors can help us to unravel our complex problems to become easier to understand.
W also have messages for KALMers who haven’t tried or are still hesitant to get a counselling. W said, “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.” We would never know unless we try, right? We cannot judge before we experience it ourselves. Another thing, counselling is never about whether your problem is important enough or not—if KALMers felt the problems had disturbed your lives, then quickly seek for ‘remedies’.
Last but not least, mental health is equally important with physical health, KALMers! Sometimes, KALMers are reluctant to seek counselling because of the price. But, if emotional scars leave untreated for a long period of time, it could affect many aspects of our lives. So, for KALMers who need a place to share, don’t hesitate to seek professional or psychologists’ help!
Author: Fania Veronica
Editor: Lukas L
What Happens in Therapy. (2018). Retrieved 22 June 2020, from https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/talking-therapy-and-counselling/what-happens-in-therapy/