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(30 Posts)
anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 13:24:44

I am a bit of a mess. I panic all the time and am not at all confident socially. I hate myself a lot of the time. I've been to see a Relate counsellor (together with dh and alone) for nearly a year about problems with our marriage. It has become apparent that I need to sort my head out. I need to talk about things that happened a long time ago, and sort out the panic.

I've been looking at counsellors online with the BACP, but don't know who to choose. Counsellor or psychotherapist? I don't really know what I need. Or how to start. Or what to say to them. Any advice would be great.

DaffodilsandSnow Thu 25-Apr-13 13:28:16

Personally I would suggest someone that offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) this will often be shorter term and therefore cheaper if you are paying for it. They will be able to offer you techniques and strategies to help you cope with your symptoms.

Sounds like you are being very brave.

anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 13:44:19

Thanks for replying. Not very brave at all, but I am trying.

Guiltypleasures001 Thu 25-Apr-13 13:47:02

Hi Op

Please do not look for a counsellor who does just CBT you would do well to see a counsellor who is what we call integrative this is someone who can give you relaxation and breathing skills, whilst exploring your past which is what we call psychodynamic.

Phone a few counsellors and ask them if they can do this dont go with a counsellor who practices one or the other, it wont help you in the long run. If you want to talk about your past then be prepared for the possibilty of making things worse for you now before it starts to get better, confronting painful memorys and issues can bring it all back, a decent counsellor will tell you this. Someone who uses a lot of therapeutic methods can help to keep you calm in your here and now, so that the past doesnt impact to hard.

A counsellor and a Psychotherapist are one in the same, just a posher sounding name that some choose to use.

I qualify in 8 weeks.

anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 14:07:50

Thanks guilty. Good luck with qualifying. Someone who can keep me calm would be fab, if such a person exists : )

Guiltypleasures001 Thu 25-Apr-13 14:36:04

Ha ha thanks, I do have to say though that it is you who keeps you calm, we can give you techniques to help is all. Also the anxiety you feel sounds like a pre cursor of the need to talk about your past, think of it as when you hold on to feelings and emotions for so long its like water lapping at the top of a damn, some spills over because there is so much there, its barely being contained.

This is your unconscious telling you its time to release, in the long run if you hold on to it for too long it begins to come out in other ways such as anxiety and adversly affecting your health. Sounds like your ready to let some of it out op, good luck with finding a a counsellor that you feel comfortable with, and if your in doubt about the connection you have with them, it is ok to say so or even not, and go find another one.

all the best

JustinBsMum Thu 25-Apr-13 15:04:21

This is a book I like by a journalist who went for pschotherapy - it is funny and not as the title suggests. But it made me understand more what counselling is about.

JustinBsMum Thu 25-Apr-13 15:16:01

Have just read the blurb for that book and it sounds dire but it isn't really and the most interesting part was that the family dynamics from her teen years had really affected her future actions and life. So don't be put off (and it's only 1p second hand!)

xxdriftwoodxx Thu 25-Apr-13 15:31:19

I went to my 2nd counselling session today after stewing for 6 weeks after finding my H was up to things and I couldn't work out why I wouldn't confront him this time.
Today was my 2nd visit and the lady brought out a Russian Doll and placed each doll out separately to signify different stages of our lives going down to the tiny doll, us as a child.
I am sceptical, but so far she has opened my eyes and a few tears flowed to the surface , unheard of for me.
There is truly something therapeutic going over things , anything is worth a go and if they are good at their job, they will help immensely won't be an instant remedy but each layer removed and explored can open up your eyes and help you to understand your feelings. Good luck xx

anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 15:42:17

Thanks for the book recommendation JustinBsMum, just ordered it. It really does sound dreadful btw!
Guilty, feelings coming over the top of a dam sounds horribly accurate. Thanks for your advice.

anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 15:47:38

Driftwood, glad you are finding it useful. I'm not sceptical, I really believe in counselling, but I find it so hard to talk about anything at all painful. I grew up without anyone interested in listening to my feelings so never really learnt how to talk about what's on my mind. Hope you get things sorted xx

xxdriftwoodxx Thu 25-Apr-13 16:33:37

I think sceptical may have been the wrong choice, I probably feel or felt vulnerable, I found myself wondering and asked the counsellor how she would view things by what I told her as I felt I could be a glass half empty person or half full and I could give her different views on my life,
As we chatted though her questions where more direct and I answered things automatically ,hence relationships etc, then I could see how things had an impact.
Me being sceptical is more about being scared it doesn't work I guess.
I grew up alone living between my parents and grandparents and I didn't know where I belonged for many different reasons I grew up alone, invisabke, I grew up too quickly and looking back not having that foundation perhaps is what's missing

anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 17:06:19

Driftwood, think I'm missing that foundation too. When you say you could give your counsellor different views on your life do you mean you don't know how to say what happened objectively? I think that's very difficult to do when it is your own life you are talking about. Which point of view to take.
Have found a counsellor, she does CBT, integrative and psychodynamic counselling. Got her number, need to work up the courage to ring her.

anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 17:17:15

Just googled her. Don't think she looks like someone I could talk to. Arrrrgh. Am annoying myself now.

ExRatty Thu 25-Apr-13 17:18:47

Well it depends on the therapy you need.
First of all you must get a fully accredited member of the BACP. Not simply a member but one who has been accredited. This means that they have completed at least 450 hours of educational course with a minimum of 450 hours of practical experience. It also ensures that they have been working as a therapist <in some capacity> for over 3 years.

There are lots of people working as therapists today with little formal training. It's worth your while spending some time getting a very experienced therapist.

Psychotherapists would mostly probably not like to be described as counsellors <although many people and text books do just that> as their training involves a great deal more personal therapy than a counsellor's training and they are usually at masters level educationally.
Psychotherapy is usually a much longer and more involved form of therapy. Often they will see clients a few times a week for many months. Many people can not commit to that amount of time or money.

CBT mostly addresses areas where your thinking is faulty. (ALthough all therapy does really!) It's beloved by many as it is certainly the most easily quantifiable therapy. It's probably the most mechanical of the therapies as it has agreed methods of dealing with a problem. Most useful in dealing with anxiety depressive thinking disorders like OCD etc. People with longer standing issues that involve deeper issues can find CBT too mechanical and find that the therapist doesn't build a strong enough bond to help them find the strength to address what they need

Psychodynamic therapy has to do with your unconscious and trying to sort out what is at the base of the things you do. It can involve a great deal of insight and free association or even the meaning of dream work at times. Mostly they think that whatever is upsetting the applecart now can be traced back to something usually from childhood and by finding you can move forward. Some people have trouble believing in the associations made in symbolism and free association. Some people have trouble believing in the unconscious and see this as the most unscientific model of therapy.

Person centred or humanistic is all about the you. They believe that behaviour is connected to self esteem and how you view yourself. Not the therapist but you. They believe that given the right circumstances that you can suss out what is wrong and move toward the things that will be right for you. This is a very focussed and nurturing type of therapy. It ignores the unconscious and the idea of bad eggs etc and believes in the good in people, any people. Many see this as a negative and inexperienced therapists can be particularly ineffective.

Integrative therapists use two of the above types of therapy and apply them to a therapeutic model. The model has a beginning a middle and an end and the idea behind it is that the therapist wants to move you on from the problems that you are experiencing. They will often start in a person centred fashion and build a very strong bond enabling you to explore your issues. Then in the middle phase they might use some CBT exercises to help you with some of the thinking that you have formed and then move you toward and ending using the humanistic thoughtful model again.
Integrative therapy is very effective but only in the hands of fully qualified and accredited therapists.

Most free counselling nowadays is based on a CBT model. This is because the govt can see results. It is very effective for wonky thinking but not terribly strong for older, deeper issues. It's also a quick and relatively cheap cure.

Please ensure that you see someone who knows what they are doing. Therapy can be very helpful and transformative when received from someone who is properly qualified to work with you.

If you need any further advice inbox me

anicenewname Thu 25-Apr-13 18:16:23

Thanks for that ExRatty. Think I've found one, but not sure if she lives too close for comfort (ten miles ish). Is it nuts to want to never bump into her and for her not to know anyone I know?!

ExRatty Thu 25-Apr-13 20:45:29

It's fine to not want to bump into your therapist

When they contract with you <during the first session> they will agree what you are comfortable with regarding that exact situation.
Some clients feel as though it might be too difficult to acknowledge their therapist some feel the exact opposite.
Everything you say is <pretty exclusively> confidential so don't worry about that aspect of things.

Make sure you are happy with the therapist. There are lots of specialists and specialisms I didn't go into that can be absolutely brilliant. Don't be afraid to see a few therapists to get a good feel if you are unsure.

Make sure the therapist is fully qualified and accredited not simply working toward accreditation. The difference in understanding and experience is light years!

xxdriftwoodxx Thu 25-Apr-13 21:45:49

Yes reflecting on my past is a weird one and maybe as time has gone by my view may have changed and depending how I feel too I could give her a different story. It's important to me she knows the truth but time and memory change our views too, for me it's about self esteem so at the mo. doubt my self too much. Down loaded the book too

ExRatty Fri 26-Apr-13 01:31:19

Interestingly it's easier to access information than you might think.

Once there is a decent bond with a therapist they can use any number of ways to help you to break down some of the masks and the barriers that we use to keep information safe from others and ourselves.
Our true perception of events is what is important and not the long help "truth" of our parents or siblings
Sometimes simply being in a safe non judgemental space allows memories and thoughts to start flowing.
The therapist can help you clarify and reclarify and pull strands together.
It's difficult for many but also it's unbelievably freeing for many other people

jynier Fri 26-Apr-13 02:15:06

Such a very interesting post from *ExRatty."

I am not a fan of quickly-qualified counsellors!

Hope that everything goes well for you, OP!

Baby steps!

jynier Fri 26-Apr-13 02:16:49

Meant ExRatty - still mixing up asterisks and quotation marks! Sorry!

spencermoon Fri 26-Apr-13 08:59:44

I'd also second the distinction between counselling and other forms of psychological therapy.

You might also find it helpful to look on the British Psychological Therapy website as they have private psychologists on there.

Another thing to investigate is Cognitive Analytical therapy - it's a v structured therapy for helping people both understand the impac of their past experiences and then the impact these experiences have on current relationships and behaviour.

Hope that helps. smile

xxdriftwoodxx Fri 26-Apr-13 15:29:41

I hope you are right Exratty, I must admit I am in the stage of looking at people in my family and my relationship with them along with a bit of history about them too. I did cry at something mentioned where I trembled with emotions I didn't know I had inside me. I think in my case I am scared I am trying to blame my past for my failings now as until two years ago I was a really strong minded person with all the things life threw at me, it took a few problems with my marriage to turn me into a doormat of sorts... I truly want to rebuild my spirit and perhaps scared to trust someone to help me as I desperately want to find the strength to be my old self.
I guess OP ask friends to recommend someone to you, I researched my lady and checked her history too, my problem is I could do with living with the counsellor as I need as much imput as possible to help me get stronger . If you could recommend some useful books about self esteem or how childhood events at early ages where we don't understand affect us , I would be grateful,,,,... At the moment I am trying to heel the inner child if that makes sense? X

anicenewname Fri 26-Apr-13 15:46:19

Thanks spencer and exratty, that's great. Cog Analytical sounds good.

I know what you mean driftwood about taking your therapist home. I'd have brought the Relate guy home in a flash. Not sure his wife would approve, or my dh smile I am feeling a bit stronger now than I was, not so desperate! Feel more like I can rely on myself, today at least. Sure you will get your strength back, drift.

I'm reading reconciliation (heal your inner child) by Thich Naht Hahn and it is fabulous. Very buddhist, but accessible. I love meditation anyway and it is a great way to relax and deal with your problems at the same time.

Wish there was an easier way to sort things out though. Cognitive magic wand therapy anyone? Going to ring psychotherapist number 1 now.

xxdriftwoodxx Fri 26-Apr-13 16:12:38

Hi OP I will try that book, I want to try everything, then one day soon I can wake up, face up to my lovely H and say goodbye ! Lol with no regrets or running back to him cus I am too scared to be alone xx

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