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spoke to counsellor for first time and now feel A LOT worse

(26 Posts)
TiredFeet Mon 07-Jul-14 23:28:20

Just that really, and not sure if its normal to feel worse after?

I have been referred to peri natal mental health team by GP, I guess with suspected PND and PTSD (very traumatic events in my labour, albeit physically it was relatively straightforward). Gp started me on citalopram and it was helping a bit.
The guy from peri natal rang and now I feel even more rubbish than I did before. He told me off for not taking care of myself and I now just feel shit and ashamed of myself for getting in this mess. Yes I never took any me time but that's because I have 2 children with complicated health issues, a husband who is away a lot and no family near by.
Luckily I had family staying this weekend so I pulled through the low he dragged me into. But am I right to be worried about sticking with this counsellor? Can I ask gp fora different one or is this what they would normally do? I know he was right that I would need 'me time' but the way he is approaching it feels so unhelpful. But then I have never had counselling before and guess I expected something more positive

Also, is it usually just over the telephone? I hate it being over the telephone it makes me feel very abandoned and alone

Mouldypineapple Mon 07-Jul-14 23:48:18

I've seen a counsellor recently for a range of issues that have become too much. I think finding one you feel comfortable talking to is half the battle. Not sure I'd like it over the phone but I've not tried it.

Initially (well, often really) I'd come out feeling quite stressed. My dh always says 'I don't know why you go there, it just upsets you more.'
And there is some truth in that. On the other hand I've found it a safe confidential space to open up and discuss some things that I felt I couldn't tell anyone. One of the issues I've subsequently discussed with dh and my 2 closest friends whereas I was carrying the weight of it myself before which was really difficult.

I hope this helps in some way. Counselling in my experience can be very difficult, but can also help, despite being difficult! Maybe you should have another session or two and then decide how you feel. It is hard, and can be embarrassing but I do think you need to be comfortable with the counsellor to open up properly. I've had sessions in the past where I didn't feel so comfortable and it didn't work at all. Would a female counsellor be better?

TiredFeet Tue 08-Jul-14 00:07:57

Thanks mouldy that's helpful. Yes I can see that it is inevitably going to be upsetting but I was suprised to feel 'told off' and also he was breezily suggesting solutions that are painfully impractical which made me hurt more (like moving back to family; much as I would love to, my husbands job is v niche and all he would be able to get is minimum wage stuff if we moved back home. Counsellor then saying 'money doesn't matter' well actually it really does sometimes!)

Coughle Tue 08-Jul-14 00:10:22

It doesn't sound like a good match. I'd ask for a different one.

Coughle Tue 08-Jul-14 00:10:58

And sorry you are feeling so awful

TiredFeet Tue 08-Jul-14 00:16:16

Thanks coughie
The health visitor and gp are being wonderful but I know I need a decent counsellor too

Coughle Tue 08-Jul-14 00:52:24

I started counselling a few weeks ago and it's made a huge positive difference. I didn't believe it would, I didn't believe anything could help. But it has. I hope you find a counsellor who is supportive and understanding very soon.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 08-Jul-14 00:56:31

OP, will the next session be a telephone session?

TiredFeet Tue 08-Jul-14 07:53:29

Yeah its telephone again. Is that the norm now? I was a bit surprised given that I am in quite a bad way, but wondering if its a lack of funding thing. They seem quite happy to throw bucketloads of Anti depressants at me tho confused.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 08-Jul-14 11:09:59

It is done, but it is certainly not "the norm". Please go back to your GP and ask for a referral to a different counsellor who will see you face to face. An important aspect of Counselling is the provision of a safe, confidential space. Another important aspect (for me as a counsellor anyway) is the ability to read non verbal communication.

Telephone Counselling makes little provision for either. I have provided emergency Counselling over the phone, but feel I would be short changing my clients if I did not provide a safe space, away from their lives for them to discuss their problems with a real person.

SilverStars Tue 08-Jul-14 11:19:31

Hi is he your counsellor or was he the initial person you were assessed by? That may make a difference. Peri natal mental health is different to counselling, as they only assess and take on people with a baby under 12-18m and you will be discharged to adult services after baby us a certain age or discharged. The focus with peri natal teams is usually different to the teams that just offer counselling - as the focus is on supporting a mum with mental health difficulties and the whole family.

If you want general counselling not through peri natal mental health team then maybe your gp can refer you to a different team?

It is not always possible to choose who you see in the NHS - you would need to tell the person you spoke to you wish to change who deals with you and why (eg what they said has upset you, not helped etc).

Great you have supportive HV and gp!

SilverStars Tue 08-Jul-14 11:20:51

The peri natal team may do much of their work on phone, perhaps, but adult mental health teams will assess you face to face. Cannot usually have children with you - maybe why they rang you. Worth telling them you want face to face counselling and ask the peri natal team if they will give you that.

TiredFeet Tue 08-Jul-14 14:15:30

It was peri natal, to be honest I have no idea what his exact role was as he didn't really explain and I have no idea what happens next just that I get another phone call later this week. But he made me feel so desperately low and I felt very criticised for ending up in this state

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 08-Jul-14 15:02:46

Tired, make a list of questions that you want answers to and ask them at the start of the next call. Questions that I would ask are:
Are you a member of BACP?
What type of counsellor are you / what is your theoretical school?
What are your qualifications?
When do we contract?
Can I see someone face to face?

TiredFeet Tue 08-Jul-14 16:10:28

Thanks Dione, is it ok to ask that kind of thing when its a gp referral?

Trampampoline Tue 08-Jul-14 16:42:35

Hi Tired Feet, I'm sorry you're having such a shit time of it.

Please do ask questions, you have every right to understand your treatment.

This guy hasn't explained his role or what will happen clearly enough for you and this is him lacking, not you. Self-nurturing is indeed an important part of mental health care, but he's pitched it badly to you with an astounding lack of empathy.

If he is indeed a counsellor (could he be another kind of mental health practitioner, eg a MH Nurse, not a specific counsellor?) he should be approaching this in a 'person-centred' and collaborative way - i.e. supporting you to find the best way for you. (It sounds as if he's been more prescriptive which maybe suggests a nursing role?)

Some counselling can indeed be done over the phone, but usually a client would ask for it specifically, or be offered it as an option.

Trampampoline Tue 08-Jul-14 16:46:47

In fact the more I think about it, I think he may be an MH nurse rather than a counsellor and he hasn't explained his role very well.

Either way, you're perfectly entitled to request a different worker if you don't feel a good rapport with this one. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 08-Jul-14 17:36:16

Tired, of course it's ok. In fact IMHO it's necessary. You need to trust your counsellor if you are to make any progress. I know it's difficult for you at the minutethanks, but remember you are not doing them a favour, they are supposed to be doing their job and their job is to help you.

TiredFeet Tue 08-Jul-14 18:48:06

Thanks both of you, this is all really helpful. I think I will discuss it all with the gp who knows me well when he is back from his holiday. I know myself well enough to know that this guys approach was the wrong one for me, and he didn't even take the time to work that out, or explain anything, and I need the the right help so badly right now

SilverStars Tue 08-Jul-14 18:52:06

Where I live the peri natal mental health team is made up mainly of MH nurses and psych's. it is the nurses who are care co-ordinator and deliver most of the care ( unless inpatient), so they are not counsellors under organisations such as BACP. They may be trained in counselling but it may be worth asking what their role is and what you have been allocated. Their role may not be to counsel in fact. I doubt their first contact with you would be a counselling session, it is usually information gathering, assessment etc. I had a MH nurse but they did not do the traditional counselling role if that helps.

MrsPixieMoo Tue 08-Jul-14 19:10:25

I'm so sorry this happened to you. Please do ask for someone else. I 'had' to see a midwife counsellor as part of my antenatal care because of previous medical probs, traumatic labour and emergency section and recurrent miscarriages. I had two sessions with her and it was absolutely shit. She had no counselling skills at all, just gave out crap advice and kept telling me she could tell I was feeling better for talking to her. Nothing else got me as down as talking to her and I declined further 'help' from her. I know it's hard when you feel sad and disempowered, but please don't put up with this. You deserve much better care.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 08-Jul-14 19:18:32

I need the right help so badly right now.

Yes you do Tired and you deserve it and your DCs deserve it. It's ok to ask for what you need. You sound like a clever, insightful woman and I wish you health, strength and happiness for the future.thanks

TiredFeet Thu 17-Jul-14 20:04:56

Well finally saw my Gp today (he's been on hols but I didn't want to explain to someone else). He is really cross about how the phone call from perinatal went, says it was absolutely not the right approach from them them and he is going to right as say as much and push them to get something sorted for me.

MrsPixieMoo Thu 17-Jul-14 20:22:35

Well done for waiting and for seeing your GP, who sounds sensible and an advocate for the help you need. Take care and I hope that you get the help you need.

TiredFeet Thu 17-Jul-14 20:31:18

Thanks, I really hope they sort something soon

Just realised my terrible typo! The gp will write, not 'right' blush

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