Tagged: mental health

Apr 13

Not the ‘counselling’ type

Seems I’m full of mental health posts at the moment. So bear with me, I’m sure this too will pass

Regular readers will know about my completion of the first year of my degree in counselling and psychotherapy, it’s certainly been an eye opener, in many ways, both to mental health in general, my own health, that of others and approaches in dealing with various mental health issues.

One thing has remained constant throughout… That when I explain to people what I am doing, it’s generally greeted in one of three ways,

1) raised eyebrow followed with ‘wow that’s really excellent.. I/someone I know had counselling and it really made a big difference to them’

2) roll of eyes ‘I/someone I know had/should have had counselling..was a waste of time, I’m not the ‘counselling’ kind..’ Generally said with fingers making the international sign for inverted commas

3) sounds like a right load of psychobabble

Whilst I’m not about the start taking on the number 3′s.. Leave that till year three of my degree… I’m often fascinated by the number 2′s, who in my experience, generally don’t want to discuss it in any more detail than that

So my question today is… Is there a counselling kind?

It is a universal truth that if that person doesn’t want to be in that room being counselled, then they shouldn’t, it’s not going to work, there has to be a will to change, they have to really want to be there, to experience a significant change in their life.

The old ‘my doctor told me to come’ or ‘the missus says it will help’ probably isn’t enough will to make that ball pick up momentum and roll down the hill. You have to want things to be different. FACT.. Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but apathy hits us all, the status quo is manageable, not pleasant but manageable.. And doesn’t involve spilling your guts to a virtual stranger.. I’ll stick with the status quo thanks very much

I remember my psychiatrist asking me tentatively whether I would consider counselling, I replied if he told me to do a head stand for 3 hours a day, I would do it, if it worked, if it felt better than this seething pit of anxiety vipers then sign me up, but I know many others who don’t feel that way, many never even making to the doctors let alone any further

It seems to be an unfortunate position that due to the waiting lists for NHS counselling, between 6 weeks and 6 months, that within that time there appears to be a cycle, this is just a personal observation, it seems that a person reaches a point where their life has been disrupted and disjointed enough to seek help, whether enforced by loved ones or by their own hand.

The doctor assess and diagnoses, possibly prescribing anti depressants and counselling, person starts taking anti depressants and waits for the counselling, if it’s even accepted at that point, in the meantime the person starts taking the anti depressants and things start to middle out, it’s not just as awful, its bearable, some good days.

So the counselling appointment comes through and the person thinks it’s pointless going as they are already doing better, life has improved a bit, they might have been able to go back to work, or started functioning better, loved ones might have vocalised about the improvement… So they don’t go, carry on as they are, taking the pills and getting on with life.

This might go for months or even years, the person taking the pills, perhaps attempting to come off the pills, but at the heart of it, nothing has really changed, unhelpful thinking patterns still beavering along, unchallenged. Low self esteem still eating away. Person locked into a cycle, trying to establish why they have been affected this way, delving backwards to understand whats gone wrong and taken them to this place, what catalyst drove them here. This brings them back down, pills dont seem too effective, they go back to the doctor and the cycle starts again.

It seems an impossible task to ever just be pill free and happy, counselling never seems to make an appearance again, it’s seen as pointless.

So back to the question, is there a counselling kind? Are some people more accepting of this type of help? Aside from the cycle I describe above, why WOULDNT someone seek whatever help they could to feel better, Im really keen to understand this. I seem to speak to so many people who seem to struggle so hard day to day but just have an outright ‘no chance’ to taking counselling, which offers a proven path to improvement and good health.

I so want to understand what the barriers are, both on a personal and soon to be professional level, in my head its a no brainer, but to so many it’s just not do able?

Is this about talking to a stranger?
Worrying about what you will say?
Worried about being judged?
Worried that if you start crying you might not stop?
Think it wont work?

I so want to understand and I would appreciate any help that you can offer with this one.

I have a friend, who won’t mind me telling you, has had some mental health issues, a few false starts with counselling, but now following a really short course is in an entirely different mind set, life changing, skills for life, stuff she has battled with all her life she now has a specific toolset to work with to keep on the mental health straight and narrow.

I’m a walking, talking, blogging advertisement that counselling works, its so good I bought the damn degree course (said in Victor Kyam voice) so for me I find it hard to grasp why someone wouldn’t do this. Please help me understand, when I do come to do this for a career, I really want to try and see it from all view points so please take the time to tell me your gut feeling about counselling, be it from personal experience, or from an opinion point of view

Thanks so much, well done for getting to the end of that epic!