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The “Aha!” moment in counselling

I’ll be honest. I was driving to my psychologist appointment last week, and I would have preferred to be any where else. Did I really want to go back and stir up some difficult emotions when I felt like, on that day, everything was going really well? We’ve been doing some great work lately but it has been pretty intensive, and not easy. Couldn’t I just go out for coffee/ clean out my sock drawer/ do the grocery shopping/ do absolutely anything but go to my session instead?

I know what you’re thinking- “She’s a counsellor, and she’s reluctant to go to a counselling session? Why should I go then?”. Fair point. More on that later.

My psychologist is pretty busy. If I cancelled, I wouldn’t be able to get another appointment for a long time. So I pushed through all the persistent thoughts of cancelling the session and just went.

I left that session one hour later feeling like I was in a bit of a daze. Everything looked a little bit different. I felt different. You see, I’d had one of those “aha!” moments that us counsellors love seeing a client experience. From that session I’d come to see something that had appeared to be a familiar situation in a completely new light.

In my car on the way home, I savoured this new revelation. I rolled it around in my mouth, tasting all the different notes. I held it up to the light and investigated its flaws. I poked it, I prodded it. Does it fit with my experience of the past? Will it fit with my hopes for the future? There was so much to consider.

Those “aha!” moments are incredible, and I speak from both a client and counsellor perspective here. It’s the moment when, as a client, you feel as though- quite literally- someone has just turned the lights on in a darkened room. As a counsellor, it’s a privilege to help a client obtain a new perspective in such a profound manner. Those revelations open our eyes to so many things, whether it be our own thoughts or behaviours, or that of others, that might impact on our lives.

When we experience these moments, we go from feeling powerless to empowered. We have new knowledge that we can choose to act on. We have options. We can choose what to do with this “aha!”.

So yes, I was reluctant to go to my counselling session. But boy, am I thankful I did.