I have a confession – it wasn’t until I started my counselling course that I went for my first counselling session.
This wasn’t because my life was sunshine and butterflies; in fact there were numerous occasions when I was close to reaching out for help, but the thought that always came to mind was ‘your problems just aren’t important enough to justify it’.
In the end, I did bite the bullet and booked myself in.
And did counselling help?
The answer was yes it did, and this0 has been a huge milestone in getting to know myself better.
Ultimately, therapy can be helpful for anyone who feels that there is something ‘not quite right’ in how they feel about themselves, if they’re struggling to come to terms with a life event, are feeling lost, need extra support regarding their mental health and more besides. For much of the time, people recognise that there is something that they’re struggling to cope with, but are hesitant to reach out for many reasons.
One of these reasons, as in my own case, is the idea that something especially big or traumatic needs to have happened to us in order to have counselling. This can come down to our culture’s attitude around mental healthcare needing to escalate to crisis point before we ask for help, what other people might think about us for seeking out support, or the idea that we should be able to cope with whatever life throws at us.
Another reason can also come down to shame. That idea that if we reach out for help then we might be met with judgement, condemnation or receive the confirmation of our worst fears: it was all my fault; I am responsible and to blame.
These are just two reasons why people might hesitate booking their appointment, and as counsellors we are aware that when people do reach out to us for support, this is an important step which can be scary and anxiety inducing. It is part of our responsibility to do everything we can to put you at ease.
As a person centred counsellor, it is my belief that you are the best expert on you; you live in your body, you experience your thoughts and feelings, you’re intimate with your likes and dislikes and can feel where your boundaries lie. Sometimes though, these can get confused and that’s where counselling can help to unravel those thoughts and feelings.
In the next series of blog posts, I’ll be exploring some of the issues that might be discussed in the counselling room, but in the meantime, I would love to hear from you.
Have you ever had counselling? If so, how did it feel to book that initial appointment? Or are you thinking about counselling, but are yet to book your first appointment? Please feel free to comment below.