Counselling and Therapy! Would it Help People, Parents and Children | If this question has ever come into your mind. It was probably followed by a number of other questions such as ‘How would I know?’ ‘What’s the difference between a counsellor and a therapist?’ and ‘How on earth would I find someone to talk to I can trust?’
In almost any setting today we often hear comments like ‘They are going to Relate’. Or ‘She saw a counsellor, you know’. No longer do these images simply conjure up a picture of Woody Allen and his analyst. As a nation we are becoming more willing to talk about things that worry us. We are not so prepared to suffer in silence. And we are more ready to accept that there are people ‘out there’ who can help.
Counselling and Therapy! Would it Help People, Parents and Children?
The Internet has opened doors for many people. Messages and queries are posted, and answers appear as if my magic. (See Andy Gill’s ‘Message Board for Parents’). Today we are also fortunate to have many telephone helplines available which specialise in advice with specific problems. It is hard to think of a single situation which is not covered by a helpline. Including parenting, Breast Cancer, Smoking, Altzheimer’s. And many many others for specific illnesses. And of course victim support which is now widely on offer to everyone in need.
But what if this isn’t enough? What if the problem is not so much a practical one. But one which involves feelings of anxiety, depression. Or despair about a particular issue? The Samaritans immediately comes to mind. And the increase in the numbers of calls they receive each year indicates the great need many of us have to talk to someone who will listen to us.
Over the years I have found that more and more people want to understand what is going on within themselves. In the time I have been a therapist I have seen a great change in attitude. Once it seemed that people kept secret that they were coming to see me. Now consulting a therapist is seen as a plus. Not hidden and often openly spoken about to friends and family. There is a real change of heart.
Addictions and Therapy!
Men and women are more interested in self-knowledge than in a hopeful quick fix with prescribed medication. Drugs can sometimes offer symptomatic relief. But they do not solve people’s problems. Any more than they do for a young person who becomes addicted.
Often this is a way to try to block out pain, which equals feelings, which equals finding someone to help you to untangle these painful feelings. Some people will seek help because they are interested in personal growth. And developing their potential to live life to the full.
After several failed relationships the shift can turn from the ‘Why does my partner always treat me so badly?’ to ‘What do I do to make this happen, time and again?’
Counsellor and a psychotherapist or therapist,
There is often confusion about the difference between a counsellor and a psychotherapist – or therapist. There is a fine line between one and the other. The most straightforward way of seeing this is to understand that a counsellor will more likely help with an immediate problem. Such as bereavement or an eating disorder. And will generally focus on one aspect of a client’s life.
A psychoanalytic psychotherapist will help with the untangling of mixed emotions. And with understanding more about oneself and how the feelings you have have come about. In other words therapy will go to the root of the problem. In therapy there is more emphasis on understanding some of the unconscious processes. And treatment can last a considerable time.
This must be taken into consideration, since it is an investment of both time and money. There is some therapy available through the NHS, but it takes tenacity to search for it.
Counselling and Therapy. What is psychologically wrong?
In everyone’s life there are highs and lows. And there will be times when all of us are more vulnerable than at others. It is when the feelings of deep depression or crippling anxiety seem to be getting out of proportion. And are affecting our daily life that we need to consider professional help.
When feelings of life not being worth living, prolonged sleep disturbance. Bouts of crying, overwhelming feelings of hopelessness or despair. Or feelings of unease become part of our daily diet, then help should be sought. Sometime physical symptoms. Such as excessive tiredness or headaches. May indicate something is psychologically wrong.
There is a strong link between the body and the mind, and often we can receive, and give, confused signals. For some it is still more acceptable to say ‘I’m not well’ rather than ‘I’m depressed.
Counselling and Therapy. Trained counsellors!
So how do you find that special someone to talk to? Your GP may have a counsellor attached to the practice. Or may be able to make a referral. A friend may be able to recommend someone. The British Association for Counselling has a list of trained counsellors in all areas.
Another safe way is to go to an organisation which trains psychotherapists to a high standard. Such as the British Association of Psychotherapists. And which has a Clinical Service where an assessment can be made. If treatment is recommended, they will make an appropriate referral. This organization also has a few places at reduced fees for treatment by senior trainees. And this is well worth pursuing.
The British Association of Psychotherapists also has an assessment and treatment service for adolescents and children. Children can get depressed and anxious too. Childline reports they answer 3,000 calls a day from children. Sadly, they are overstretched and many cannot reach a counsellor to talk to. There are times when well-intentioned friends or loving family just will not do.
So whether there is an immediate crisis which you would like to talk to someone about. Or whether you want to explore both conscious. And unconscious thoughts, there are trained and qualified people to help. Take time to find that right person for you. And the fit must feel right. It can be hard work. And there may be issues to be faced which are painful. So, is counselling for you?
Counselling and Therapy! Exciting journey!
If the answer is ‘yes’, go for it. It can be a very exciting journey. No two journeys are the same, however. A patient once said to me. ‘Funny thing is, I have been in therapy for a year…. I have the same partner, same job, same flat. But when I came it all seemed so black. And now the sun is shining. Not a bad year’s work.’ Remembering how suicidal she had felt when we first me. I agreed with her.Jill Curtis