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Anyone had counselling? How does it work?

(21 Posts)
Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 16:51:00

Apart from a bit of PND it’s all new to me.
I know I’m not doing ok, spoke to GP today who commented that “you are clearly very unwell”.
Took me by surprise, I must have come across as unhinged!

Anyway I’ve been referred to occupational health for counselling I think.

I have years of really awful stuff to unpack once I start talking I think now is the time it’s going to come to the surface.
My question is, do they focus on just a single thing or do they encourage you to tell them everything about what has brought you to this point?

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Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 18:36:19

Anyone know or have experience?

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CurlsLDN Thu 08-Oct-20 18:44:33

Hi op, sorry to hear you're going through a tough time.

There are lots of different types of talking therapy/counsellors, so it depends who you see as to what their approach might be. Perhaps read up on CBT (commonly prescribed on the NHS) integrative counselling and others.

I see a counsellor (I've seen 3 or 4 over different points in my life) and I found it helpful to consider what I wanted out of it before I went in the first time. Just as if you started seeing a personal trainer you'd agree on goals which might be do with fitness or weight loss, with a counsellor you can start off thinking of goals such as 'i want to learn how to deal with anxiety attacks' or 'i don't want to be depressed' or 'i want to work through something traumatic so that I can put it behind me'. If you're able to pin this goal or goals down and discuss it with your counseller that would help them to help you. The goals would then evolve as you work through it together.

They might focus on just one thing, or it might be wider, depending entirely on what you need. In my case I went through a traumatic divorce 3 years ago, and have decided it's finally time to work through that. However we talk about things from that time but we also talk about all sorts of other things, such as work, childhood events, happy memories, other relationships, because people are complicated and it all feeds in together

AnnieStarlight Thu 08-Oct-20 18:47:56

I don't want to read and run OP, but I have no experience of counselling.

However, I saw a psychologist for the best part of a year to deal with serious anxiety disorder a little while ago. We worked through individual things some days, and the bigger picture on others.

I'm a very calm, centred person these days. Totally unrecognisable from who I was when I was referred, also clearly very unwell.

All the best for your counselling thanks

Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 18:48:00

That makes really really good sense thank you so much for your help.
I will need to think about it, maybe write it down.

I need to pull out the threads because I just don’t know where to start.

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yelyah22 Thu 08-Oct-20 18:48:39

It depends what kind of approach the therapist has and what method they're using - I've had CBT, where you set a few goals of what you'd like to achieve - for example, reducing anxiety about X, or to stop doing X behaviour) and then you work towards those goals relatively specifically - although in my experience you end up talking about anything and everything as you go, working out what feeds into what you want to change. Then I've also had general person-centred counselling which is a little less structured (or felt it, to me) where we talked about a lot and I could lead the discussion with prompts from the therapist.

There are tons of types though, and certain types work for different circumstances, people, and what you ultimately want to get out of it.

You'll probably have an initial session with a therapist who'll have a chat and see what approach will work best for you and I imagine they will talk to you about their ideas and what you think will be most beneficial, as well as what you want to get out of it. Don't be scared to ask questions or tell them what you think you need - is it just generally 'feeling terrible', or is it 'i need coping strategies for a particular feeling or scenario', or is it 'i need to work through a thing that happened', etc? They'll help you work out what you need.

Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 18:56:21

So will the therapist be able to pinpoint my issues even if I blurt out the variety of traumas that I have suffered over the years?
What if I just blurt out a tonne of crap that inhabits my head??
What if I make a complete idiot of myself?

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CurlsLDN Thu 08-Oct-20 19:47:10

"what if I just blurt out a tonne of crap that's in my head"

That is literally what therapy is for! It's not like going to the gp where you have 5 minutes so have to try and succinctly describe one issue. You just have a conversation, they'll prompt you if you get stuck, and help you to navigate your way through that jumble of thoughts and worries until you can see it all more clearly. It will take more than one session and that's ok.

Nobbynobbsknob Thu 08-Oct-20 19:57:13

Counsellors are used to clients having more than one thing to talk about and you can use the time to talk about anything you want. They have heard it all so you don't need to worry about if they can handle hearing it.
It can take time to untangle all the threads in your head. That doesn't mean you seem unhinged just that you have a lot going on.
A good counsellor should make you feel heard and safe and it's ok to challenge the counsellor if you don't.
I hope that you find some support. It sounds as if you have lots going on and that can feel scary and upsetting but a good counsellor will be able to help.

nothingcanhurtmewithmyeyesshut Thu 08-Oct-20 21:27:20

You're supposed to blurt out all the crap in your head. For me its like I just give voice to the whole tangled bundle of shit and then we start picking it apart and tracing the various problematic behaviours and beliefs back to their source.

Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 22:30:53

That’s reassuring.
I honestly think that it’s a mass of jumbled crap, all built up layer by layer over years and years.
Non of it discussed or dealt with, none of it hung out on the line in the daylight.
All of it blended together into a big ball of dark crap.

How the shitting hell can it be untangled? It’s impossible.

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WhitePhantom Thu 08-Oct-20 22:42:35

I think this image sums up counselling really well!

nothingcanhurtmewithmyeyesshut Thu 08-Oct-20 22:45:30

No. It is too overwhelming for you to untangle but you won't be doing it on your own, your therapist will help you. It only seems impossible because you've never really looked closely at it or tried to tease one issue out from the rest.

Just make sure they put you with someone you feel comfortable with because you will be talking about some hard topics.

spookmeout Thu 08-Oct-20 22:49:55

I just talked and talked and talked. She gave me pointers, interjected at times and I worked a lot of things out. I'm so glad I went, it made a massive difference to my life
I went on to do a counselling course and loved it. Shame it doesn't pay well to begin with as I can't make it pay to go on

Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 22:53:11

That is a perfect image yes! Thank you so much.
Oh I feel so SO much better about going.
I am unwell. I am very unwell.
I know I am because of the thoughts I can’t close the lid on. I need to now open it all up and learn how to be healthy with my thoughts.

I can foresee counselling being very beneficial to me.

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ginandbearit Thu 08-Oct-20 22:55:39

I used to do counselling within companies..one very angry and rather reluctant PA was propelled to me ( and normally i would not accept someone so reluctant ) ..at the end of her blurting eveything out in a jumble she said "that was just like having your hair washed "..calmer and a bit happier , we worked on more complex stuff later but that first session is often cathartic and clears the way for focussed work if needed.

Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 23:05:15

Again, very reassuring, thank you so much.
I’m kinda looking forward to starting counselling sessions.

Not sure of the waiting time from referral to first session. Hope it’s not too long.

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DarkDisquiet Thu 08-Oct-20 23:08:27

What I would say to anyone considering counselling, is to be careful of who you have counselling with.

I have gone for counselling, and it can really depend who your counsellor is. I have had two really good counsellors, and not such good counsellors. My current one is AMAZING.

So if you see one and after a few sessions it doesn't feel right, please try a different one - it doesn't mean that counselling isn't any good, only that you haven't found the right one. The right counsellor can change your life in the best possible of ways.

Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 23:14:23

I dint think that I have the luxury of choice I’m afraid.
It’s NHS occupational health so you get what you are given.
I have to make it beneficial no matter who I am put with.

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TheVanguardSix Thu 08-Oct-20 23:28:47

I'm on my 5th session of counselling (NHS). I had a choice of trauma CBT or talking therapy. I chose the trauma CBT, they chose the talking. So I went with talking. I'm glad I did because I've never talked about my stuff out loud with anyone.
It's been very helpful. I don't feel like I'll ever make sense of the trauma I've encountered in life, but I am beginning to realise that I can transcend it. I can make sense of the effect it's had on me even if I'll never understand why it had to happen. I'm learning that there are so many questions I've had that really don't serve a purpose. I'm learning to resolve shit more than ruminate about it. I feel like counselling has gotten me out of a holding pattern I've been stuck in for far too long.

What I can't tell you is if it actually 'shuts a door' on old pain. I don't know about that. But what I am beginning to realise is that counselling releases a lot of repressed emotions which can be a bit noxious and hard to handle but intensely liberating. I think counselling is helping me to take possession of myself in ways I never have. That feels very good. I hope it can do the same for you, OP.

Pickypolly Thu 08-Oct-20 23:41:00

I hope so too.
I don’t really understand how it can lift the blackness though.
The things that have happened are entrenched and deeply routed.
They can not be removed from my brain so I don’t understand how talking about them will do anything to ease the pain.

I’m looking forward and hopeful that I will get some kind of magic cure.

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