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In times of crisis, loss and other difficult life events, people may need more support. Here we explain what supportive conversations are and how you can get help.

What is supportive counseling?

Supportive conversations are conversations that aim to provide emotional support and guidance. It can be held by different types of professionals, such as psychologists, therapists, counselors, or other qualified support people such as deacons. These sessions often focus on helping individuals deal with different types of challenges, such as stress, grief, relationship difficulties, mental health problems or life crises.

Although different from more in-depth psychotherapy, the goal of counseling is not only to listen, but also to provide tools and strategies to manage and improve the situation.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk

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What is supportive counseling?

Supportive counseling often includes different elements and these can be:

  1. Listening and empathy: A fundamental part of counseling is active listening and empathy. This means trying to understand the person’s feelings and experiences without judgment.
  2. Support and understanding: Counselling offers a safe and supportive space where individuals can express their thoughts and feelings. It is important to feel understood and validated in their experiences.
  3. Problem solving and strategies: During the sessions, there may be a focus on problem solving, with the therapist helping the individual to identify problems and develop strategies to deal with them.
  4. Emotional processing: Counseling can help individuals to process and manage difficult emotions such as sadness, anxiety, stress or anger.
  5. Goals and change: Counselling can also focus on personal development and achieving specific life goals, such as improving relationships, managing work-related stress, or developing healthier habits.
  6. Resource orientation: Counselling can help individuals identify and use their own resources and strengths to deal with their challenges.
  7. Short-term intervention: Unlike more in-depth psychotherapy, counseling is often more focused and short-term, intended to provide immediate help and support.
  8. Confidentiality: Conversations are confidential, meaning that the information shared during the conversation remains between the individual and the therapist.

Support sessions are flexible and can be adapted to the individual’s unique needs and situation. They can be particularly helpful during periods of crisis or change, or when someone is experiencing challenges in their daily life.

What can counseling help with?

Counselling can help with various conditions such as:

  • crises
  • losses
  • work-related problems
  • relationship problems

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What is the difference between counseling and psychological treatment?

The difference between counselling and psychological treatment is that psychological treatment, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), often has a longer intervention that is more focused on certain problem patterns or conditions.

In psychotherapy, a thorough assessment is often made before the treatment and work more on the basis of different processes and tools that have been shown to give good results in research. It has also been seen in research that counseling is effective but often provides psychologically better and more specific treatment with more sustainable results over time.

Supportive counseling can be provided by various professionals such as coaches, counselors and curators, while psychological treatment or psychotherapy is provided by licensed persons such as psychologists or psychotherapists.

At Lavendla, we have therapists and psychologists with experience in counseling. Book a first session today with one of our staff members.

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12 common questions and answers about counselling

What is counselling?

Counselling is a conversation aimed at providing emotional support and guidance.

Who provides counseling?

Counselling can be provided by different types of professionals, such as psychologists, therapists, counsellors, or other qualified counsellors such as deacons.

What can counseling help with?

These sessions often focus on helping individuals deal with different types of challenges, such as stress, grief, relationship difficulties, mental health problems or life crises.

How long does a supportive counseling treatment take?

Treatment time depends on the individual but is usually short, from one to a few sessions. If you need longer treatment, you can attend psychological treatment to get more in-depth help.

What methods and techniques are used in supportive counseling?

Supportive counseling involves active listening and empathy, with a focus on understanding without judgment. It can include problem solving and strategy development, help with processing difficult emotions such as grief and stress, and a focus on personal development and goal achievement.

What is the basis of counseling?

Supportive counseling builds on the relationship between the therapist and the client to help the client with a crisis or other situation where support can be helpful.

Can I get counseling online?

It is possible to receive treatment digitally via video. Research has shown that the outcome of the treatment is equivalent to meeting in person.

Are there any disadvantages to counseling?

Supportive counseling is helpful for minor events, but if you have a long-term problem that doesn’t go away after a few sessions, you may want to seek psychotherapy.

What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?

The difference between counseling and psychotherapy is that psychotherapy is often longer, more focused and carried out by more qualified professionals.

What is a crisis?

A crisis is often a short-term difficult, unpredictable situation that poses a significant threat to the well-being, stability or functioning of an individual or group. It usually passes after a few weeks, but you may need support or treatment.

Where can I go if I need help?

At Lavendla, we have experienced psychologists and therapists working in counseling who can help you feel better. If you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, contact your nearest emergency department.

What is supportive treatment?

Supportive counseling is a process designed to provide individuals with emotional support and guidance. Here is an overview of how a typical counseling session might work:

  1. First contact: Counselling often begins with an initial contact, where the therapist or counsellor and the client meet. During this meeting, the client’s needs and problems can be identified. The aim is to establish an understanding of what the client is going through and what they hope to achieve from the sessions.
  2. Establishing a Safe Environment: It is important to create a safe and comfortable environment where the client feels free to express their feelings and thoughts without fear of judgment. Confidentiality and trust are important.
  3. Active listening and empathy: During the session, the therapist or counselor actively listens and empathizes.
  4. Identification of problems and goals: Together, the therapist and client explore the specific problems or challenges the client is facing.
  5. Support and advice: The therapist may offer support and advice to help the client deal with their problems. This may include discussing different strategies for dealing with specific situations or emotions.
  6. Developing strategies: The client and the therapist can work together to develop strategies and techniques to deal with the client’s situation. This may include developing coping strategies, conflict management techniques, or creating an action plan.
  7. Evaluation and follow-up: During and at the end of the process, the therapist and the client together evaluate how well the goals have been achieved and what progress has been made. Follow-up sessions can also be scheduled if necessary.
  8. Closure: When the client feels that they have achieved their goals or made sufficient progress, the counseling session ends. Closure may also involve a transition to another form of support or treatment if necessary.

It is important to note that counselling is tailored to each individual’s unique needs and circumstances, and the process may vary depending on the situation.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.