Help! I’m feeling low.
Mental ill-health can happen to anyone. Perhaps you are faced with a difficult situation that you feel unable to resolve yourself. You might have had opportunities to talk with friends, but somehow it hasn’t quite worked. Or maybe it’s just too personal. Sometimes friends or family are unable to help us with our problems as they might not be available at the right time, or they may be part of the issues themselves.
Maybe counselling will help?
Talking face to face with someone can be a great benefit. If you cannot find help through friends you might find this can be achieved through a counsellor. It is not a matter of being ‘weak’, seeking help elsewhere – you are recognising that you need additional support through your difficult time, and you are prepared to do something about it.
A counsellor is someone who is neutral, non-judgemental, a good listener and trained to help you to talk through the problem and help you find ways of coping. A professional counsellor who is properly trained and registered with British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is an example of someone who you could speak to. Members of the BACP are themselves, supervised regularly by other counsellors, and continually pursue their own professional development.
How does counselling work?
When you start talking to a counsellor you may find a sense of relief – being able to share your problem, and having the time and space to concentrate. Counsellors are non-judgemental, congruent and will put themselves into your shoes. This will help you to untangle your problems and help you begin to understand them. You will be able to explore various aspects of your life and feelings, talking about them freely and openly.
Bottled-up feelings such as anger, anxiety, grief and embarrassment can become very intense and counselling offers an opportunity to explore them, with the possibility of making them easier to understand. This, in turn, will help you to find ways of tackling your problems, giving you the confidence and belief to change things for the better.
What counselling is available?
Face to Face therapy – Counselling traditionally is offered by meeting the therapist face to face in a private and confidential setting. This form of counselling offers you a safe space to explore your problems or issues on a personal level. The counsellor will listen attentively and patiently so they can hear what is troubling you, which will help you see things more clearly, often from a different perspective. Counselling is a way of enabling choice or reducing confusion. It does not involve giving advice or directing a client to take a particular course of action. Counsellors do not judge or exploit their clients in any way. The counsellor may help the client to examine in detail the behaviour or situations which are proving troublesome and to find an area where it would be possible to initiate some improvement.
Online counselling – In the last 15 years counselling has begun to be offered online. This can be via email, instant messaging or Skype. It has many advantages and the next posting will discuss these as well as giving you guidance on the different types of online counselling and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each e-therapy. It is best to find a counsellor who has gained a qualification in online counselling and is a member of ACTO.