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People may require additional support during times of crisis, loss, and other difficult life events. Here, we explain supportive conversations and how to seek help.

What is supportive counselling?

Supportive conversations aim to provide emotional support and guidance. They can be held by professionals such as psychologists, therapists, counsellors, 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 counselling is to listen and 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 counselling?

Supportive counselling often includes different elements and these can be:

  1. Listening and empathy: Active listening and empathy are fundamental parts of counselling. 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, the therapist may focus on problem-solving, helping the individual identify problems and develop strategies to deal with them.
  4. Emotional processing: Counselling 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 overcome challenges.
  7. Short-term intervention: Unlike more in-depth psychotherapy, counselling 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 counselling help with?

Counselling can help with various conditions such as:

  • Crises
  • Losses
  • Work-related problems
  • Relationship problems

Book a meeting

Fill in the form, choose a counsellor, and proceed to payment.

What is the difference between counselling and psychological treatment?

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

In psychotherapy, a thorough assessment is often made before the treatment, and the process and tools used are more based on different processes and tools that have been shown to give good results in research. Research has also shown that counselling is effective but often provides better, more specific treatment with more sustainable results over time.

Supportive counselling can be provided by various professionals such as coaches, counsellors 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 counselling. Book a first session today with one of our staff members.


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12 FAQs about Counselling

What is counselling?

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

Who provides counselling?

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

What can counselling 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 counselling treatment take?

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

What methods and techniques are used in supportive counselling?

Supportive counselling involves active listening and empathy, focusing on understanding without judgment. It can also 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 counselling?

Supportive counselling 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 counselling online?

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

Are there any disadvantages to counselling?

Supportive counselling 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 counselling and psychotherapy?

The difference between counselling 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, complex, unpredictable situation that significantly threatens an individual or group’s well-being, stability or functioning. 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 counselling 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 counselling is designed to provide individuals with emotional support and guidance. Here is an overview of how a typical counselling session might work:

  1. First contact: Counselling often begins with an initial meeting between the therapist or counsellor and the client. During this meeting, the client’s needs and problems can be identified. The aim is to understand 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 clients feel 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 counsellor actively listens and empathizes.
  4. Identification of problems and goals: The therapist and client explore the specific problems or challenges the client is facing together.
  5. Support and advice: The therapist may offer support and advice to help clients 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 collaborate to develop strategies and techniques for dealing with the client’s situation. This may include developing coping strategies, conflict management techniques, or 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: The counselling session ends when the client feels they have achieved their goals or made sufficient progress. If necessary, closure may also involve a transition to another form of support or treatment.

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.

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Written by samantha

Sr. Samantha Pieterse is a registered psychiatric nurse who is deeply committed to mental health and well-being. Samantha brings a unique and valuable perspective to her role as an editor for Lavendla South Africa. She has worked in Government and Private mental healthcare institutions in Gauteng and her expertise ensures that the articles on our website are accurate and accessible. Samantha is dedicated to enhancing mental health awareness and education in South Africa.