Advanced search

to think that 'counselling'; in any of its myriad guises is by and large a bloody waste of time?

(261 Posts)
moondog Thu 17-Sep-09 21:48:04

At best a self-indulgence, at worst positively damaging.

Littlefish Thu 17-Sep-09 21:50:14

No, I absolutely disagree with you. I have found it incredibly useful in the past. I will say that it depends completely on finding the right counsellor though.

notnowbernard Thu 17-Sep-09 21:50:30


But when delivered by a charlatan, of course it can be damaging

dogonpoints Thu 17-Sep-09 21:51:22

I know someone who has got a lot from CBT.

I imagine there are so many different examples of counselling that it'll be hard to pronounce the lot of it as time-wasting. But it'll be interesting to hear you try wink

moondog Thu 17-Sep-09 21:51:28

Any old idiot can set themselvesup as a counsellor though.
And the kneejerk 'get counselling' attitude on MN really gets on my nerves.

Tee2072 Thu 17-Sep-09 21:52:20


Totally not a waste of time for me. That, along with meds, have literally saved my life.

Have you ever actually been in therapy/counselling of any sort? Or are you just talking out your ass, as so many do about mental illness and the treatment thereof.

onepieceoflollipop Thu 17-Sep-09 21:52:24

moondog I think YABU. However as others have said sometimes the counsellor isn't the right one (and some ime aren't great)

Also it depends on the person going for counselling...sometimes it's the wrong time, or their attitude is wrong etc.

BitOfFun Thu 17-Sep-09 21:52:30

It's not the cure-all that people here hope it is, that's for sure, and it's not for everyone.

I think there are some people for whom naval-gazing does more harm than good tbh.

Stefka Thu 17-Sep-09 21:54:03

I have had therapy. It was hard work and I did not enjoy it but it was very helpful and I don't know what I would have done without it.

A bad therapist can be damaging though yes so it is important to have someone qualified and that you feel comfortable with.

moondog Thu 17-Sep-09 21:54:03

Er... who is talking about mental illness?

Not me.
Only you, mate.

morningpaper Thu 17-Sep-09 21:54:05

No, this is nonsense. Counselling enables you to look at things in your past that are too upsetting/horrific for you to deal with in positive ways, and to rationally deal with them and move forward having accepted yourself and the things that happened.

Before I went into psychotherapy, I had been prescribed 9 different anti-psychotic drugs and was addicted to tranquilisers. After two years of psychotherapy, I wasn't taking any medication and was living a very happy and fulfilling life as a normal person. (Honest, am quite normal.) I was quite literally tranformed through psychotherapy.

supersalstrawberry Thu 17-Sep-09 21:54:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

onepieceoflollipop Thu 17-Sep-09 21:54:50

Tee I totally agree with your last sentence. (not specifically wrt moondog, just generally)

I am an experienced mental health nurse. Many many times patients tell me that their mil/best friend/neighbour know better than qualified nurses/doctors and therefore they have taken that person's advice and stopped taking their "addictive" ads or stopped some other form of treatment. hmm

Interesting how some of them come back more depressed a few weeks later, surprisingly enough the advice has run out from the other sources.

morningpaper Thu 17-Sep-09 21:55:03

Yes, obviously there are some shit counsellors. There are shit people in every job. Just because you have a shit GP doesn't mean that modern medicine is a crock of shit though.

BitOfFun Thu 17-Sep-09 21:56:05

I don't think that many people are taken in by unqualified types these days (except maybe the ol life-coaches etc)- generally people are recommended to go via the BAAVCP etc, which guarantees years of training and professional development. It still doesn't guarantee a good fit between counsellor and client though, or that the kind of counselling on offer is right.

duelingfanjo Thu 17-Sep-09 21:56:14


I saw a counsellor for a short while to help me through a life change. I am pher dumb pretty sure that it's not true that anyone can set themselves up as a counsellor, that's a rather a dumb thing to say IMO

onepieceoflollipop Thu 17-Sep-09 21:56:41

I think it is difficult to have a discussion re counselling without mental illness being mentioned. Partly because in many areas NHS counselling/therapy etc is accessed via the mental health services.

duelingfanjo Thu 17-Sep-09 21:56:44

am pretty sure I mean.

dogonpoints Thu 17-Sep-09 21:57:54

I suspect md might be thinking of one particular type of counselling and several known cases?

HerBeatitude Thu 17-Sep-09 21:58:08


People go to counselling because they have an emotional/ mental health problem. If you've got a constant pain in your foot or hip or another part of your body, which isn't life threatening, but just makes you adapt your movements, no-one thinks you're self indulgent for going to the doctor to sort it out so that you can do stuff everyone else does normally, like walk without a limp. But for some reason, emotional health/ mental health is considered a self-indulgence.

Not only do I disagree with you but I think your view is positively harmful. I used to think like you in my twenties, that counselling was a self-indulgent waste of time, so I waited till my forties to face up to the fact that I needed it. One session made me feel as if I'd relieved myself of a burden I hadn't even known I was carrying - I can't tell you how free and unecumbered I felt and it was just one session. If I hadn't had such an idiotic view in my twenties, I might have been free 20 years earlier.

But I agree it needs to be much more tightly regulated, twenty years of Woody Allen type counselling is obviously absurd. I think that's the sort of counselling that deserves a bad reputation.

onepieceoflollipop Thu 17-Sep-09 21:58:17

I have had counselling 3 times. The first 2 were not helpful (partly because one was relationship counselling and the relationship issues were never going to be reparable)

The third time the counsellor was fantastic. I kind of fell apart and was put back together (I realise that sounds pathetic)

BitOfFun Thu 17-Sep-09 21:59:50

BACP that should be- keyboard running away with me there.

Decent psychotherapy can certainly be transforming, but often the funding only exists for a short course of person-centred counselling, which isn't terribly amazing for a lot of people ime.

IdrisTheDragon Thu 17-Sep-09 22:00:31

I have had generic counselling and found it about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

I have also had a course of CBT which has been of immense help.

morningpaper Thu 17-Sep-09 22:01:44

I do think that some therapy/counselling is better than others and also some is more suitable for certain people

I have friends who have 'tried' counselling and given up and it is v. frustrating because I know that with the right therapist they could be SO much happier...

groundhogs Thu 17-Sep-09 22:02:17

Depends, without sounding melodramatic, CBT literally kept me alive... other later counselling was a PITA and a total waste of time and I binned it.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now