When to get counselling?
This article looks at some of the difficulties people face in deciding whether to seek counselling.
When to seek counselling?
It can be hard to decide whether to seek counselling. Perhaps you have a sense that things aren’t quite right, or maybe you think that what you’re going through is just normal – after all everyone has to deal with difficult things, don’t they? Some people say that they don’t feel worthy of receiving counselling. Or, it could be that it’s hard to accept that you need help and so you try and carry on regardless; sometimes carrying on for so long you may psychologically “fall over”.
So, how do we know we need to make an appointment and ask for help? The short answer is that it’s about realising that you’ve got to a point where it’s no longer OK to feel the way you do. You just ask yourself, is it OK to feel this way?
Let’s take an example, feeling sad. It is OK to feel sad. Sad things happen and its natural to feel sad about them. It can, however, get to a point when the extent of sadness we feel probably means we need to seek help. Any one of the following could indicate that it’s time to seek counselling for feeling sad.
When the feeling of sadness:
- Has lasted too long or you just can’t cope
- Impacts on your daily life
- Stops you doing the things you want to do
- Affects your sleeping pattern
- Affects your ability to concentrated on everyday activities.
Another example might be dealing with pressure or feeling stressed. Pressure and stress are different things.
Pressure is what you feel when you believe something is at stake and is dependent on how you perform. That could be in your working or personal life. Stress is when there are so many demands on you, and you just don’t enough time, money or energy to meet them.
And many of us have busy lives, demanding careers or running from one thing to the next with the kids. It’s perfectly natural to feel under pressure and for that pressure to build into stress. It’s OK to have some pressure but it’s not OK to have ongoing stress.
Situations where counselling may help
OK, so that’s about feeling sad or being stressed – what about all the other times life gets too hard? Listed below are some of the situations which have triggered clients to come to counselling, and have found that through counselling they’ve felt better and more in control of their lives.
- Things are getting on top of you and affecting your wellbeing, for example, causing depression or anxiety.
- Something has been troubling you for some time and you’re having difficulty finding a solution on your own.
- You find it hard to talk to friends or family because they are directly involved in the issues.
- Issues from the past are having an impact on your day to day life.
- Things are troubling you and its having a negative impact on your relationships or work.
We all deserve the best health we can get, whether that’s our physical or mental health. Many people, whatever their situation, have found counselling extremely helpful. Some of the benefits of counselling are:
- Talking to someone neutral, outside of your situation, can show you a different perspective and help you find a way forward.
- Counselling can help you to process difficult thoughts and feelings.
- Sharing your worries helps you feel less alone with the problem.
- You can gain a better understanding of yourself and a clearer sense of what you want and need.
- You can practice communicating more clearly and honestly in the safety of the counselling relationship.
- Counselling can help improve your relationships and your ability to communicate.
If you’re still not sure, the best way for things to become clearer is to book an initial session with a counsellor. That way you can find out more about how counselling works and the counsellor can help you decide if it would be useful for you.
If you are considering counselling, you can talk to your GP who may be able to access free counselling for you or you can seek a private counsellor for yourself.
If you decide to seek a counsellor for yourself then choose one that’s properly qualified and accredited. The Counselling Directory (www.counselling-directory.org.uk) undergo checks to make sure everyone they list is properly qualified and belongs to a professional body.