So, why would anyone talk to a counsellor? If you are finding life emotionally difficult at the moment you may be considering talking to a counsellor. Perhaps you are feeling constantly stressed, anxious or depressed. Maybe a bereavement has left you feeling angry all the time or you feel you aren’t coping with a particular challenge life has thrown at you. Approaching a counsellor can be a daunting prospect and here are a few common reasons people give for not taking this step:
- I should be able cope by myself
- I don’t want to talk about personal things to a stranger
- I don’t want someone telling me what to do
- I don’t have money to spare
- I don’t have the time
I should be able to cope by myself
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to cope, feeling that we would be weak or have failed in some way if we need someone to help us. But in other areas of our lives we don’t feel this pressure. If your boiler broke down you might open the cover and pretend you know what the buttons do for a while, but ultimately it is likely you would end up calling in an expert. Counsellors go through many years of training to be able to support those in difficulty. There can be a lot of fear and embarrassment associated with asking for help for emotional difficulties, but it is often the first step in making progress, rather than struggling on feeling stuck and unable to cope.
I don’t want to talk about personal things to a stranger
A key principle of counselling is that the person you are speaking to is not connected to your life outside the counselling room. This allows for a space where you can talk openly without the fear of being judged for what you are saying. Talking to supportive family and friends can be helpful, but we often factor in their feelings and judgements, which can mean we hold back from saying what we truly believe or feel. Trust is also important here, which is why it is important to choose a fully qualified counsellor who is a member of a recognised professional body (such as the BACP or UKCP), and therefore works to their code of ethics in terms of confidentiality etc. All counsellors found on the Counselling Directory meet this standard.
I don’t want someone telling me what to do
Counselling is about talking through what is going on for you, and helping you gain the understanding and self-awareness to make decisions and changes for yourself should you so wish.
I don’t have money to spare
It is true that most counselling costs money. It is possible to get some free counselling through the NHS, but there tends to be a bit of a wait and the number of sessions are limited. Some charities also offer free support, which tends to be for specific issues, such as Cruse who deal with bereavement. The average cost for a 50 minute session of counselling in London is around the £50 mark. A lot of counsellors offer a limited number of reduced fee sessions for those unable to pay the full rate. I think it is also important to recognise that spending money on your own happiness is surely one of the best ways to use your money. Especially as we often spend money on things that we think will make us happy, but ultimately fail:I don’t have the time
In an already packed week, finding time to get to a counsellor can seem almost impossible for some. However, in the same way as the money question above, finding time in your week for your own well-being can make a big difference to your life. For those with children it is easy to end up giving every minute of each day to your kids, but to put aside 50 minutes each week for yourself can bring back that sense of time and space that may have been lost. If you check the Counselling Directory you should be able to find someone close to your home, and also some counsellors now offer Skype counselling to cut out the travel time.
Having read this blog you may still be wondering why anyone would talk to a counsellor, and it is important to recognise that counselling isn’t for everyone. However, I have seen many examples of people who were really struggling in their lives and found that counselling gave them space and time to talk through their issues, feel better and become more content in their lives.