Updated: Oct 11, 2018

The stigma of mental health can leave you feeling that you are the only one struggling with life and that no one else understands what you are going through. The good news is you are not alone and no one escapes life's challenges.

Reaching out for help can be a daunting experience, however the sooner you ask for help the easier it is to work through the problems. By avoiding professional help, the problem can actually get worse. It is in the most difficult times that you need the help the most.

1 in 5 people have engaged in counselling and half of the population knows someone who has engaged in counselling. (BACP)

1. Self-care

Self-care is a way of life that promotes your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Society says that the harder you work the bigger the reward, but in reality the more you sacrifice, the more you become overwhelmed and exhausted. It becomes counter-productive. Acknowledging your worth and prioritising your mental health is not lazy or selfish but absolutely necessary. Reaching out for support and sharing your difficulties can be liberating and cathartic.

2. Sometimes friend and family aren't enough

It can be comforting to have friends and family to turn to in times of trouble, however they can at times offer advice and jump into 'fixing' the problem and offering solutions. When this happens the focus moves from you to them and your experience gets lost.

If you are known by your friends and family as the 'strong one' or the one who is always in control it can be scary to share with them that you are struggling and it can leave you feeling vulnerable and judged.

Counselling differs as it focuses on your unique experiences and providing you with a safe place to open up at your own pace without judgement.

3. Develop new perspectives and coping strategies

When you are having a tough time in life it can often leave you feeling stuck with no way out but counselling can help you explore your troubles and feelings, helping you to see things more clearly or from a different perspective.

Being unable to escape your problems can create a pattern of thinking or behaving in a certain way that does not promote your mental and emotional wellbeing. For example if you are relying on food, drugs, alcohol, self-harm or unhealthy relationships as comfort, counselling can support you to find different, healthier ways of coping.

By supporting you to make sense of what you are experiencing, counselling can help you to see your situation differently and offer yourself the compassion and self-acceptance you deserve.

4. Greater understanding of yourself

Exploring your emotions with a counsellor allows you to understand yourself better and this can help you connect with yourself and others and enjoy more fulfilling relationships. Counselling offers a safe, confidential place where you can grow and develop, helping you find a language for your feelings and understanding that change is a journey, not a single step. Learning more about what makes you happy and what triggers difficulties for you can provide you with more choices in your life.

5. Improving physical health

Sometimes feeling exhausted and rundown is an indicator that your mental health is being neglected. Emotional and psychological distress can manifest itself physically leaving you suffering headaches and colds and cause difficulty sleeping and functioning throughout the day. Sharing your distress with a counsellor can be a huge relief as it prevents you from trying to do it all on your own.

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Updated: Oct 3, 2018

Counselling is a confidential process which supports you to talk about the struggles or experiences that are causing you distress in a safe space without judgement.

A good counsellor creates an environment where you feel heard, valued, respected and understood. Counselling is not about telling you what to do or informing you of right and wrong but about supporting you to make sense of what you are going through and increase your awareness , empowering you to make more choices and ultimately give you more control over your life.

Once you make the choice to embark on counselling you will be invited to meet with a counsellor to talk through and explore the difficulties you are experiencing and how they are impacting you.

By gaining a better understanding of your personal circumstances and what you hope to gain from counselling , the counsellor will work with you to find new ways of moving forward that will support you and enhance your emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Counselling is not a drop in service but a commitment to attend weekly sessions for however long you feel is necessary. This can be mutually agreed with a counsellor but ultimately it is your decision.

Who is counselling for?

Counselling is for anyone who feels that they need support with a problem they are experiencing, or general unhappiness and a feeling that things aren't right but don't know what. For example - addiction, anger and irritability, anxiety, depression, emotional disconnection, fear/panic, grief, guilt, hopelessness, intrusive thoughts, lack of control, loneliness, low mood, low self-confidence/self-esteem, self-harm, shame. sleep issues, stress, suicidal thoughts and worthlessness. Sharing your struggles and experiences with a trained professional can support you to reflect on things without being given advice by family or friends and worrying about how it will impact them, particularly if they are part of the problem.

Counselling can help with

  • Sharing your story and feeling heard - you do not need to go through it alone

  • Increasing your self awareness and acceptance - making it possible to engage in more fulfilling relationships with the Self and others.

  • Changing or repairing relationships ie family, work, children, personal relationships

  • Identifying and promoting your Self-care

  • Deepening your emotional awareness

  • Understanding what causes you distress and identifying the triggers

  • Understand what is holding you back and support you to move forward

  • Finding new ways to cope with and respond to what we experience - allowing an alternative way of seeing the world

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