Don’t get me wrong, as a counsellor, I swear by personal therapy: I have a counsellor and believe everyone can benefit greatly from having one. What I don’t believe in, is having a counsellor because you, or someone close to you, feels like you should.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve met and become close to a wonderful man who is the epitome of a ‘Man’s Man’. He goes out with the boys, yells at the TV when the football’s on, has been known to square up to a guy in a bar for inappropriately chatting up one of his friends, and gawps at a girl’s arse when she walks by in the street. He’s also never been known to cry or even show a hint of ‘feminine’ emotion in public.

Throughout our friendship, I’ve shown him what I guess could be classed as ‘Unconditional Positive Regard’, which basically means I haven’t ever judged him for anything he’s said to me, and I’ve tried to understand where he’s come from when he’s done or said something I don’t understand.

I know, I sound like the perfect friend. Trust me, I’m not and can get stroppy with the best of them when someone dares to eat the last chocolate or finish the prosecco on a night out.

I always told this friend that I thought he’d really benefit from counselling, but never expected him to consider it because it just wasn’t ‘his thing’. We had a great friendship and learned a lot from each other’s way of dealing with and approaching problems and it worked.

So I was gobsmacked when, a couple of months ago, said friend messages me out of the blue and asks me to guide him in to the murky realm of counselling. He wanted to work with a counsellor and wanted me to help him find one.

Obviously, because that’s the kind of sensitive soul I am, I asked if he was serious or taken temporary leave of his senses. Apparently not. Apparently, behind the scenes of our friendship, he had been slowly opening up to the benefits of talking about his feelings and sharing his problems with a non-judgemental ear. Now, whilst I was objective as I could be, I was also a friend so I was never going to be able to be his counsellor, but it was amazing to me that without me even telling him about counselling or what the benefits were, he discovered them for himself and actively sought it out.

After his first session with his new counsellor, my friend text me straight away with the words, ‘WOW!!! What a revelation!’. I smiled and replied, ‘Told you!’.

My friend’s been having counselling for about a month now and his world has opened up in a way he never knew existed. For so long he told himself he was happy when actually, he’d forgotten what it was like to be himself and what happy meant to him. Counselling has come in to his life at exactly the right time, but would have been next to useless if I’d have bullied him in to it two years ago.

[Tweet “The thing about any form of personal development, is that it’s personal.”] If you’re not ready for it, it may do more harm than good. Allow yourself to be surrounded by people who allow you to be you, and wait until the right moment to move forward.