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How counselling can help
There are many different reasons for coming to a counsellor
The difficulty may have been around for a long time, perhaps going away and coming back again repeatedly,
or it may have come up suddenly. You may know what the cause of the difficulty is, or there may be
no apparent explanation. However the problem affects you, counselling could help you to make sense of
your experience and enable you to make positive changes.
Here are some examples of situations in which people often find counselling helpful and the ways in which it can work.
Click on a button and scroll to the bottom of the list to find out how counselling might help you with each difficulty
Worrying excessively can be exhausting and frightening, and can cause you to limit your normal activities. And you may fear that talking about your worries will make the problem feel worse. But with a supportive counsellor you will be able to consider how you are, at your own pace and in your own way. And looking at the causes and effects of your worrying may help you to identify ways of managing things differently.
Deciding what to do, when there are pros and cons to every possible course of action, can seem to take over your life. But talking things through with a counsellor can help you to become clearer about your priorities and so help you to find ways of achieving the outcome that is most important to you.
If you have experienced a bereavement or other important loss, and are deeply affected by this, you may find it difficult to talk to friends or family because they may also be affected by the loss, and you don’t want them to feel any worse. A counsellor will not be affected in this way. They will empathise with your distress, but you will be able to talk to them about your feelings without being responsible for their well-being.
We all know that past events can continue to affect us afterwards. Sometimes the effect can be positive but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. In particular, past experiences that we found traumatic at the time (maybe abuse, or a sudden catastrophe) can remain with us in very disturbing ways, perhaps causing us to relive them somehow, or to feel guilt or shame. Talking to a counsellor can help us to understand and accept the experience so that we can more easily see it as being in the past, limiting its intrusion on our daily lives now.
Difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships can be seen as issues to do with the individual people involved. But for any relationship to work there has also to be communication that works. Relationship counselling is about identifying, understanding and communicating about difficulties, so that a mutually acceptable way forward can be found, and is for individuals, couples, and families.
Feeling bad about yourself can have its origins in a recent situation, or maybe much longer ago. A gentle counselling approach can be helpful in enabling you to look at whether you have really done anything to blame yourself for and, if you decide that you have, how you now want to deal with your sense of responsibility.
Losing your temper when you don't want to can be destructive to you, and to your relationships with others. Counselling can help you to unravel the reasons for your irritability, enabling you to be less angry in situations that are not related to the cause, or to respond in a different way in the situations that are making you angry.
Depression is often experienced as a kind of 'closing down', not having the ability to engage with the rest of the world, or ourselves, as we normally would. You may not feel able to get out of bed in the morning, and talking to other people may feel like too much. You may find yourself bursting into tears or becoming irritable with people for no apparent reason. Or you may feel so powerless that trying to do anything seems pointless. And, if this carries on, you might feel so bad that life doesn't feel worth living any more. Counselling can help in enabling you to restart a communication with yourself and others, so that you may be able to come to terms with the reasons for your low mood and, through this understanding, move on from it.
Disabilities and chronic health issues can affect our lives and those of the people around us, whether they be in a caring role, or dependents, in many different ways. If the condition comes on suddenly it could be shocking and traumatic. But a more gradual onset will also require adjustments to how we live our life and how we see our future. These changes can cause a considerable sense of loss and there may be many practical consequences, including housing and financial issues. Counselling offers an opportunity to talk through your feelings about the changes that health problems can bring, and look at how you might manage them.
Money worries can take over our lives. Although financial advice can often be very helpful in enabling you to sort things out, counselling can also help in enabling you to think things through more clearly, and deal with the feelings that so often go with financial problems such as guilt and shame.
Many factors can affect how well we think we are doing as parents. If your child seems unhappy or hard to control, it is normal and natural to be critical of your parenting, and certainly there may be things that you could be doing better. But there may also be other factors involved which are affecting your child, and counselling could help you to identify these, as well as giving you a space in which you may be able to reconsider your parenting skills and perhaps think of new ways of handling difficult parenting situations.
It can be difficult to know what to do about a stressful work situation, because this can be caused by factors out of your control, such as excessive workload, or managerial bullying. But counselling can help, perhaps by enabling you to see the situation differently, or by helping you to manage your stress better.
anxiety or panic
making a difficult decision
dealing with a bereavement or another important loss
coming to terms with past experiences
sorting out relationship difficulties
feeling bad about yourself
losing your temper when you don’t want to
feeling very sad or depressed
coping with disabilities and chronic health issues