When something is deeply troubling you, do you run through a mental checklist of your friends or family members you feel you can talk to and decide which one will listen to you properly, really hear what you have to say? Which one will respond in the way you want them to? Will they offer advice and solutions to your problem when all you really want to do is be heard and find your own way through it?
The difference really is that a person-centred counsellor will offer you time and space to explore your troubling thoughts and feelings. There might be something you want to talk about that you feel might shock a family member or a friend. Also, you might want to explore what it might feel like to act a certain way to resolve your problem without actually going through with it in reality.
The whole process can be quite cathartic and the time and space offered is yours, to have time to reflect on what is really going on for you without the pressure of considering someone else's feelings.
All this takes place in a confidential environment. No-one needs to know you are seeking counselling unless you want to tell them. A counsellor will try to see things from your perspective and be there to support you when the journey through any crisis that life has thrown at you just gets too much and help you reach the other side, in your own time and speed.
This could be trying to make sense of a painful relationship breakdown, or rebuilding one that you want to save; the death of a loved one and sorting through difficult feelings and finding ways to cope and move on. Or just support in coping with any stressful situation you find yourself in.
Often we take care of the people around us first or even spend a lot of time and energy keeping the things we value up and running. For instance, you might spend a lot of time and money keeping your car on the road! Do you ever feel that there is not enough time to spend caring for yourself? This is what can be achieved in counselling - your time, your space to take care of you.