We all have lived with our own personal ways of coping. They have been great haven’t they? They have kept us safe and enabled us to carry on with life. Hopefully, they would have been one of the healthier ones like for instance when we feel a little stressed we pop on our running shoes, pound the pavements and ultimately receiving a rush of those lovely happy hormones at the end. But sometimes our ways of coping aren’t so healthy. Whether you come to counselling looking to break away from those old ways, or are looking for someone to work with you so that you can understand your behaviour/emotions better, or you just haven’t got anyone else to open up to, then counselling may be what you are looking for. Counselling is great, it works whether you are old, young, black, white, gay, straight, short, tall or male or female. It is really for everyone and it’s ok to need a little help! Human beings really do find comfort in confiding in another fellow human being. We are social creatures. My old nan used to say to me that a problem shared was a problem halved. I thought at the time she was just being nosy, but it’s only now that I am older, I know exactly what she was going on about.
We can trace counselling back a long way in various forms. I think Priests sort of counselled really in the way of a ‘confession’. Mr Freud was about in the 1890’s, with his Psychoanalysis, but I guess it really only took off after the second world war. But some faraway memory tells me that counselling wasn’t viewed very highly when I was a kid. I seem to remember relatives muttering something like ‘oh no, you don’t want to do that’. Nowadays (I hope) mental health is beginning to be just as regarded as physical health with many celebrities and members of the Royal Family coming forward to offer their support. I hope this continues. Too many people suffer in silence. People may feel guilty or selfish for talking about themselves, they may feel it is a sign of weakness. They may feel embarrassed or that there are other people worse off in the world. Also, different cultures view counselling in different ways. Sometimes it is just not the done thing. But there is support for you. You will be listened to, respected and taken seriously.
Just talking with a therapist can be healing in itself
One of my favourite memes says ‘people start to heal the moment they feel heard’. This is what counselling can do for you. We may have been brought up not to dwell on our problems, to forget them because eventually they will go away. But of course they won’t, they will go away temporarily, but ultimately come back to cause us grief. Talking to those closest to us may cause problems. The person may have their own agenda going on or may feel burdened by what you tell them. Here the counsellor is trained to be with you in such a way that all of this doesn’t happen.
It could help you understand those closest to you
Sometimes we go to therapy wanting to understand our own problems, but sometimes our own therapy can help us understand those that we love. It may even prompt us to ask questions of others in order for you to understand them better. I remember being in therapy and being really cross at someone for what they had done. After some work on this subject I came away with a greater insight as to why. For me the event still happened, but because I could understand it I wasn’t so angry or upset. I could leave it behind and move on.
It is your time and space for only you
It is your time to work through what is keeping you stuck, for you to find your own solutions and to move forward. Sometimes in our busy lives we don’t get the time to think or process anything. We are rushing from one thing to another. Maybe we have a demanding family or job or maybe we just need someone trained to be with us as it’s too difficult to face alone. In counselling you will have this space, free from interruptions, to focus on just you. It’s your time for self-care.
We can feel less alone in the counselling relationship
Feelings surrounding past events or worries that we did the wrong thing may keep us isolated. Shame and guilt are great for keeping us alone. Worried that if we tell our friends and family we will be isolated further so we then keep these feelings to ourselves. Through counselling you can feel less alone. The burden is shared and we are not judged for our past mistakes.
Our physical health may become better
Our physical health and mental health are so closely linked. If we are stressed our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Prolonged periods of raised cortisol have been linked to a wide range of health problems including heart disease, lowered immune response and bowel problems. We may find ourselves taking trips to the doctors and getting pills or creams, but sometimes these physical illnesses are brought on by our life issues. Counselling can help us with this and ultimately we may find that our trips to the doctor go down, our sleep may improve and we may begin to eat better.
We may gain a greater degree of self awareness
Spending time working on our own issues ultimately generates a greater degree of self-awareness. In turn this new-found knowledge will help us tackle not only our immediate issues, but also any future ones that come along. We learn how we deal with stress, or maybe the reasons behind why we deal with it in that particular way and we may become more resilient for the future.
You can talk about whatever you want
Yes! It is your time, your space to bring whatever you want.
Counselling can really be liberating and empowering.
So Can I get Counselling Via The NHS?
Yes you may be able to! The NHS are more likely to refer you for cognitive behavioural therapy. Your GP can refer you or sometimes you can refer yourself. With the NHS you may have to wait a while and you may not get a choice in who you see, but it can be done!
But as a private therapist my role in my client’s life is certainly a unique one. I am there alongside my clients while they talk about their deepest worries and there to witness this most important journey. When I share this journey and witness them shake off their limitations, (which may be a result of their past relationships) and finally reach that point where they leave me and move on to a better place, it’s so rewarding. Research has confirmed that the relationship between counsellor and client is central to the client moving forward, so I feel it is vital that you feel you can be open with your counsellor. Right from birth we have a need to attach and form relationships, so it’s clear to me that healing is done within a human relationship – the relationship between client and counsellor.