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How do I find a counsellor? Which 'type' do I need?

(17 Posts)
wearynow Sat 20-Aug-11 15:14:19

Am using name that I've used twice before when asking for relationship advice. The last time I used it, I got some really useful feedback.
It was very thought-provoking, and I am finally getting round to getting some counselling. But I don't know where to start!

When I look up counsellors in my area, there seem to be different 'types'. I don't know i I've explained that very well. A better word would maybe be 'specialisms'.

Anyway, I'm looking for advice as to where I look for one. Do I just go to Relate?

People in the past, when reading what I've written, have suggested that DH is EA. I can see from what I wrote that it looks like this. But I don't think it's that 'simple'. I am someone who sulks and reacts aggressively (in words, not physically) to my DH when I feel 'attacked'. I do resent him for being controlling.
So I need help learning how to deal with situations, to talk through what is and isn't acceptable behaviour by him, and to deal with the resentment that is now simmering very near the surface at all times.

So far, we have mainly managed to keep all this 'away' from the kids. We're actually a good 'team' most of the time, and affectionate and loving at other times. But I think that, if I don't deal with this soon, it will start to affect our kids. (Eldest is currently 2 and a half, youngest is a toddler- we are both chronically sleep-deprived, which doesn't help).

I'm talking about 'me' dealing with this here, rather than 'we', as DH doesn't 'believe' in counselling, so won't come with me. He is, however, very willing to talk things through and try and solve things together.

I know from what I've written here, you could question his behaviour, and mine. But for now, I'm just asking how to find a counsellor. Hope that's ok. I've written bits about 'us' just to give you an idea of the help I need.

Other things I think I need to explore are that:
His father was a 'difficult' and 'severe' character (I didn't know him. This is what people have told me).
My mum is wonderful. But she was a sulker.
I feel like I need 'approval' from DH all the time. I'm not quite sure where this stems from.
We are both competitive workaholics by nature! At the moment, he works a LOT, leaving me with the children. Both of us resent the other at times for working 'too much'. I work part time. But do a lot of extra hours at home.

Sorry for the essay! I guess the short question is: how do I find a counsellor? (!!)

ameliagrey Sat 20-Aug-11 17:27:31
type in your post code and look at their profiles.

TheSkiingGardener Sat 20-Aug-11 17:45:30

BACP. They also have good advice on how to choose a counsellor and what all the different types are.

Good luck

tb Sat 20-Aug-11 18:43:39

Just another thought to add in to the mix, have you thought of assertiveness training? That would help with the agression, especially if it's a learned pattern of speaking.

You can often find courses held in the extra-mural departments of Universities.

WondersOfTheWorld Sat 20-Aug-11 19:57:49

wearynow the way I found my counsellor was to go through the 'guilt' which is training psychotherapists in my area. They had 2 places where you can go and see a counsellor and will try and 'match' you with the one who is the most suitable.
Also I have being advised in the past not to go and see a 'counsellor' but a psychotherapist who are recieving a better and longer training. (They are however quite often referred as counsellor to add to the confusion)
I found the 2 people I saw very prfessional and they knew their stuff (incl being knowledgeable about EA and able to give advise about it)

wearynow Sat 20-Aug-11 20:44:51

Thanks everyone. Really helpful.

Yes, Wonders, it's funny you said that. I was actually looking for a psychotherapist, as my mum saw one for many years, and it really helped her.

tb, that really rang bells for me. I know I'm not the world's most assertive person (!), but I'd only ever thought of it in terms of work and friends. Never my marriage. Not sure why. That's a very interesting idea. Thanks...

This has been helpful again.

havealittlefaithbaby Sun 21-Aug-11 16:16:45

I went to my GP who referred me to my local unit. They then assessed me and we agree on the right approach (in my case cbt for anxiety). You're entitled to a course on the NHS. Hope it helps you, it's done wonders for me smile

wearynow Mon 22-Aug-11 08:39:33

Thanks, havealittlefaithbaby.
Interestingly (and I'll hate admiting this... but this is part of why I need to sort out why I react like I do), DH suggested I try going through my GP.

I reacted really badly to this. Assumed he was just being 'mean' about money. Assumed my problems weren't 'bad' enough to be treated by the NHS. Assumed he was just trying to find another way to put me off going.
But I did manage to take a deep breath, and agree to do it, as I knew he also wasn't happy about me having counselling in the first place, so we were both 'compromising'.

And then you suggested and I thought "Ah yes! That sounds sensible." !!

Anyway... I'm going to make an appointment now with a GP I'm happy to talk to about this.


TheSkiingGardener Mon 22-Aug-11 09:12:12

The NHS will usually only provide a short course of counselling though, and it will usually be CBT based, which may or may not be the right approach for you. If you feel you need a different approach or longer term help then bite the bullet and see someone privately.

Good luck

MsGee Mon 22-Aug-11 09:19:14

Just to add that I recently had an assessment with NHS via GP and was offerred both counselling and CBT.

However ... when you first see a counsellor you need to assess whether it will work for you (big bugbear of mine so rant alert). There are different approaches to counselling and its essential to match your needs, personality and style of working through things. This is incredibly difficult when you are vulnerable and are being referred via NHS.

First time I had counselling I stuck with the same person for 9 months, who then told me I had failed because I refused to outline my abuse for her in detail. I didn't feel that this was helpful to me. However, she was from a school of thought which said I needed to revisit the trauma and work through it before I could move on. I left counselling and felt worse than when I started. Years later I had a couple of months of human givens therapy where they treat abuse without you having to talk through distressing memories - all handled in a protected environment so you are one step removed when dealing with it (sorry if it doesn't make sense but that is how it felt).

Last week the NHS referred me for counselling and from previous experiences I knew it wasn't for me. I didn't feel listened to and she went on about working through the pain and by revisiting my greif I could once more gain hope. This rang alarm bells for me and I decided not to return.

I hope that this doesn't confuse things but I know that for my first counselling I didn't have the confidence or knowledge to realise that the approach wasn't for me. I felt useless and as if I wasn't working hard enough - and that wasn't the case. So I tend to bang on on these threads in the hope that it helps someone else!!

In your case I also thought of Pattern Changing workshops - tend to be a 12 week programme to help people become more confident and resilient in relationships - and to change cycles of behaviour (or your response to these).

Best of luck x

wearynow Mon 22-Aug-11 09:50:36

Thanks both of you. Really helpful.
I hadn't heard of Pattern Changing workshops, but that does sound very interesting. That's exactly how I feel: that we really do try and work things through together over and over again. But usually, we fall into the same traps of behaviour and reactions to each other, and end up arguing. It's always so inevitable. And we know it's happening, but we both get so drawn in.... I'll look that up.

Also, I really do understand what you mean about finding a counsellor that's right for you.
I have actually had 3 separate series of counselling before (at university- I was there for a long time!). One of these counsellors did make me feel like I had to justify myself or something, and I never felt really comfortable. I also had one session of cbt a few years ago, and hated it. But I understand that may have been for all sorts of reasons, not because of the cbt itelf.

But this means that I'd already decided to be quite 'ruthless' and not stay with someone I wasn't comfortable with. (This is something I don't always find easy to do: to walk away from things or people- so the reminder is helpful).

Thanks again, everyone. I've contacted one psychotherapist in a nearby town (found on the bacp website), and made an appointment with my GP. I've only been able to find 'professional' assertiveness courses so far, but will keep looking. And I'll look up the Pattern Changing. All very helpful. Thanks.

counsellingtricks Mon 22-Aug-11 10:17:16

Can I hijack this a bit?

I am going for my 5th session soon and not sure whether to give up.

I posted a thread last week andhad a lot of replies, including some asking why I needed to query counseling techniques on MN- and those same people suggested discussing this with my counsellor.

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed any more light on different types of counselling so I can ask my counsellor what she does.

Her website says she is Relate trained, but does use a psychoanalytical approach or humanist, or CBT. I don't know what she is doing with me, but what I am finding frustrating- and I will tell her this- is to take me back to the marriage of both my parents and DHs parents- presumably to find some parallel/ or not for our marriage.

I don't find this helpful, as it's not moving me forward- it's interesting, but it's not reallly helpful, and at £45 a week I can't afford to keep it up if this is a very long slow process.

I expected more a Q&A session whereas what we have is me talking for 99% of the time ( and not saying anything I have not already told friends etc over the years) and her listening with the odd question thrown in.

MsGee Mon 22-Aug-11 12:32:36

counsellingtricks sorry I didn't see your post last week.

If you are not happy with her approach, definitely discuss it with her ... However, I realise that when having counselling you are quite vulnerable and questioning the authority or approach of the counsellor is not easy. You have put yourself in a position where this person is supposed to help and guide and to ask them if they have a plan is very daunting!!

Would you be able to perhaps start by asking her to review where things are after 5 sessions and setting some goals for the future? You can always say that whilst the discussions about the past are interesting you really want to focus on the future and set goals and work through how you will acheive them?

I am by no means an expert - I have just had different types of counselling and think you often have a gut reaction if something is working for you.

WondersOfTheWorld Mon 22-Aug-11 12:35:45

I can't answer your questions about the different techniques used in counselling.

What I do know is that I am spending most of my time with my counsellor talking. She does put the odd comment out or questions, all of which are there to make me questions why I behave in a certain way or if I find such and such situation acceptable, incl some that are very straight and shock provoking.

I would expect her to ask questions about how my parents were with each other but only to make me think about the way I behave and see if there isn't some sort of correlation (aka it's not out of context to the reason I have come to see her).

You should not have a Q&A situation as it is for you to find the answer to your problem (there isn't one answer that fits all and the one that is the right one foryou wouldn't be the one for someone else) and most counsellor do that through letting you talk and directing the talk in the right direction so you have to come face to face with your problems.

However what comes through is that you are not that happy with your current counsellor and it might just be she isn't the right person for you. It might also be that the reason why you are coming to see her and your expectations aren't clear enough (or you are expecting changes too quickly - counselling and changing yourself is a slow process).


counsellingtricks Mon 22-Aug-11 15:48:45

I am very conscious of the costs- £45 a week- and can't do this forever. She initially mentioned a few sessions and thought that would suffice- now that we have looked at the family tree of relationships she mentioned many more sesions!

I suppose I don't know where the focus is- and where were are going.

I find the family parallels intersting, but in an intellectual way- not as a means of changing my behaviour, or understanding who I am so much. I don't mean that to sound arrogant.

I would like her to "butt in" more when I talk, and not let me ramblle so much! I need more challenging questions, not just a rant @ £45 an hour.

I like her- but wonder if she is being a bit too "gentle" and not really hitting the nail on the head with her questions.

havealittlefaithbaby Mon 22-Aug-11 17:42:08

I think if you're paying that much counselling you're entitled to challenge the service you're providing.
Op I'd say NHS referral is a good place to start before venturing down the private sector if the NHS doesn't hit the nail on the head.

WondersOfTheWorld Tue 23-Aug-11 09:06:35

Or ask around for the name of a good counsellor.
From you are saying she just sin't giving you what you need.
Some people need one counsellor to be gentle in their questioning, others, like me, much prefer direct and provocative questions.
or she might just not be that good!

Just for info, when I started I agreed with my counsellor the number of initial sessions. The standard 'length' was either 8 or 12 and the to reassest what was going on at that time and decide whether to continue or not. I believe that, in most cases, the length of the 'treatment' is much longet than that.

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