My personal approach
Someone said to me a few years ago, "I get that you listen to people's problems, but how does that help?" Well contrary to the beliefs of some, counselling is not about you talking with the counsellor nodding his/her head and murmuring "mmm" occasionally! I have been specially trained to listen properly and notice things about you. Your attitudes, opinions, values, beliefs, intentions, assumptions, your automatic thoughts, your patterns, your body language and things that you have internalised from your elders during your upbringing are all very important and will be contributing to the way you are in the world. If we don't talk about how we feel we internalise everything, pushing uncomfortable feelings away, often using distraction techniques like working too hard or numbing them by self-medicating. Unfortunately though, try as we might, the feelings will surface, very inconveniently, when a difficult situation arises that triggers us and causes anxiety, panic, depression and stress. Whilst we can't change what has happened in the past, we can explore our feelings and by talking about them we can often gain a different perspective on our situation and understand WHY we react the way we do in the present. I believe that unravelling everything so that you understand where your feelings come from is often the key to make changes to your life and move forward.
That said, I would never force you to talk about anything deeply painful. You are in the drivers seat, I don't follow an agenda, tick boxes or have certain expectations of you. We can go at a pace that feels right for YOU.
I do occasionally use Cognitive Behavioual Therapy techniques that I find are very useful for easing anxiety especially. CBT works on the principle that the way you think can affect your emotions and in turn your behaviour. We will explore your negative automatic thoughts and beliefs about yourself and the world and pinpoint and break down the ones that are not helpful to you. This may involve a bit of homework such as keeping a thought/mood log. Looking at things in a more rational way can bring much relief.
Us counsellors come in all different shapes and sizes and have had different training which can be very confusing. I was trained as a humanistic counsellor in which the relationship between client and counsellor is based on trust, warmth, acceptance and genuineness. I will look at you as a whole, not the 'problem' you come in with and together we will try and find a way forward FOR YOU.