What is Counselling ?
Usually it is a one-to-one meeting with an independent person who will explore feelings and behaviour with a view to trying to resolve problems between separated couples or issues regarding their children. The counsellor will ask questions and try to gain knowledge of the background and understand the main issues between the parties. Often he or she will then explain those feelings, (with permission) to the other person in a separate meeting. The objective is for one to hear the sometimes very emotional and emotive messages and feelings of the other person in a way which enables them to take those things in without the physical presence, anger and guilt which would otherwise be present in a face to face meeting.
The aim is to try to get the parties to behave reasonably and respectfully towards one another, often in the best interests of their children.
The objective is not to examine the reasons things went wrong, but to repair those parts of a relationship necessary to survive the future, and most often because partners are likely to need to cooperate in order to raise their children.
Who is it for ?
There remains a certain stigma attached to counselling on the basis it implies that the subject is weak, unstable or unable to cope. This is not what counselling is there for. It can be a great help for all manner of people to speak to someone independent, who will not make value judgments and has the emotional maturity to help you to understand how to feel better about yourself and your circumstances.
Separation is a very difficult and stressful event, and not everyone has someone in which to confide their problems, fears or emotions. It can be helpful for both partners, although the person who has been left will usuallly be looking for answers and explanations, whilst the other partner has already moved on. Counselling is not marriage guidance or an explanation of the events which have already passed but a means of emotionally coping with grief.
Is it confidential ?
Yes, counselling is completely confidential. The discussions are not recorded and are not used in court or elsewhere (unless you disclose having committed or intention to commit a criminal offence).
What Does it cost ?
In Guernsey the answer is very little, perhaps £200 for 4, hour long sessions . However, the resources are in short supply and it may take quite some time to obtain an appointment. It can have remarkable outcomes, especially for children who might feel trapped between their parents' feuding.
If it doesnt help resolve concrete issues, what is the benefit ?
The process can help someone behaving destructively to break out of their cycle of grief and start to behave more reasonably and rationally, which can only improve the satisfactory resolution of the next stages of divorce and separation. It can also help people to understand one another's feelings in circumstances where they find it impossible to communicate with one another. This understanding can only help to ease the difficulties of the process and save time and costs.
Where can I obtain more information ?