Looking for a Counsellor?
There are times in people’s lives when they face difficult situations and issues. Most of the time people navigate through life’s problems relatively well. Occasionally, however, it becomes difficult to cope and to see a way through.
Sometimes talking about it can help.
That’s where I come in.
Counselling is a great way of exploring what is happening in your life and understanding all the how, why, what, where and when of your life or your present circumstance. It allows you to take stock and to look at issues perhaps in a different light.
There are many difficulties facing people in modern life. Busy lives often mean that we end up just going through the motions, doing all the things we need to do to get by, coping day to day with what’s in front of us. Sometimes people end up feeling stressed, worried, tired, depressed and / or anxious but don’t really know why or when it began. Sometimes people don’t really know what’s wrong, they just know something is, that somewhere they strayed far off the path of who they are, of who they wanted to be and ended up somewhere completely different.
Depression is a condition that many people have at some point in their lives. The NHS describe the experience of depression as having "feelings of extreme sadness that can last for a long time. These feelings are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, and can last for weeks or months, rather than days", (NHS Choices/depression). As someone who has counselled many people with this condition I believe that one of the pervading problems which accompany depression is that you get so used to feeling awful you begin to believe that it’s normal. Sometimes people stop hoping that things will change or get better.
There are usually external and internal reasons why people get depressed and counselling can help explore all of those factors which are affecting your mood. Counselling could help you gain resolution on some of these issues and help examine what specific thoughts and feelings are affecting your day to day life. It is always important to speak to your GP if you think that you may have depression. GP’s will often advocate counselling as part of a package of help for depression. Counselling is available on the NHS but there are often very long waiting times involved before you get to see someone and sometimes the amount of sessions are limited.
Stress is important and it is thought that some stress can be good for us. It helps us to achieve things and can be an important, motivating aspect of life. Sometimes, however, stress can get out of proportion. There are many triggers which cause stress to become out of balance in our lives: job changes, redundancy, job loss, divorce, separation, relationships, sexuality, bereavement and illness are just a few common examples.
When stress is out of balance we can easily feel overwhelmed, tired and irritable. Sometimes we can’t sleep or all you want to do is sleep, sometimes people go off of food or they eat and eat. These can be clues showing that something in your life is out of balance and needs attention. Stress can often spiral into anxiety.
Anxiety often accompanies depression although it can come on its own. It is defined as "distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune" (Dictionary.com). It can be a truly debilitating condition which sometimes spiral into panic attacks which can be very frightening indeed. Anxiety occurs for many reasons and counselling can help you to explore these. Also there are techniques which can be employed to combat anxiety and to change the way you respond to difficult situations. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and relaxation / breathing / meditative techniques are particularly effective at relieving anxiety.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Counselling
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – This is thought to be an anxiety based condition. The fear of danger or misfortune to either themselves or others can become so severe that the sufferer feels that they need to perform checks or rituals. If they can do these rituals just right then they feel that they can ward off the danger for a time. However, the rituals need to be done more and more often and the fears become more and more entrenched as this pattern continues.
Each person who struggles with this often terrifying condition is different and counselling for OCD needs to reflect this. Sometimes people can struggle with all of the fearful thoughts and sometimes very disturbing thoughts and not have the compulsive behaviours. These people are usually referred to as pure O’s. That means someone who has the obsessive side of OCD. If OCD is effecting you or you are worried about it, it is important to go and see your GP.
There are many websites also which offer great advice about OCD and can help you put together what you need to help manage this condition. Counselling can help with the management of OCD and related disorders and CBT techniques can be very effective. I also believe that relaxation and meditations can help to calm the mind and can be key in helping with OCD.
It is important to state that while counselling could help with all of the above conditions, I cannot and would not diagnose a condition as this would not be in any way ethical and I am not qualified to do so. I am simply giving this information as these issues are amongst the most common I have seen while counselling. If you are struggling with any of these issues then it is very important that you go and see your GP. You can talk to them about whether counselling might be helpful as part of a package to help with what you’re facing. I cannot fix the issues or conditions that you are facing but sometimes talking about them can help.
Author: Miranda Barlow