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been having counselling for 12 weeks now

(8 Posts)
sliceofsoup Tue 23-Jun-15 22:19:43

It has really helped. The counsellor is lovely and I feel she is good at what she does. My mood improved greatly, and I feel like I have hope now, and a future, which was lacking before.

But this week I have struggled again. With negative thoughts, low mood etc. There are situations in my life that I cannot change, I must accept them, and I really felt like I had, but this week some (minor) things happened that had me overwhelmed again, and now I am unsure as to what to do next. I feel like the counsellor feels that we are nearing the stage at which I wouldn't need to go anymore (it is private so no time limit) but I feel like my issues are so deeply ingrained, almost like I don't know any other way to be, that I am not sure how much therapy I actually need to move on from them.

At the back of my mind there is also the fact that at the next session we are going to be discussing a very serious event that up to now I stayed away from talking about, because it is too traumatic and upsetting. I know I need to face it, and I want to, but I have been having headaches this week which I usually only get rarely and I think it is because I am stressed about that. So maybe that is affecting the rest of the issues.

The counsellor had suggested some courses she thinks I would benefit from, and a career path she feels I would be suited to. It took me a while, but I agree, and I see now that she has suggested these things because she knows that it is what I truly want to do (sorry to be so cryptic) but there is still something holding me back from taking the step and enrolling on the course. Mainly negative thoughts about my abilities and me as a person generally. We have addressed all these issues, and I know it is up to me to keep going, but I seem to always revert back into that frame of mind.

So this is quite long and a bit rambly, sorry. I hope it makes sense. What I want advice on is whether this is normal, and that counselling is really only a starting point to be continued on by myself, or is it normal to feel that 12 weeks isn't enough for so many different and deeply ingrained issues? I don't want to become dependent on my counsellor, but I don't feel like I am able to take the reins yet either.

LifeHuh Tue 23-Jun-15 23:53:32

I've been seeing a counsellor for two years - even posting that makes me feel a bit ashamed, all that time (and money - and I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to afford it) and I'm still not fixed .
But my counsellor says the issues we talk about, they've taken a whole lifetime (and I'm 56) to get to how things are now , it isn't realistic to expect them to be resolved just like that.
So I entirely understand why you might feel you need more time.( not suggesting years necessarily smile) And some of the things that come up are hard - you need to revisit them,maybe more than once.
Have you spoken to your counsellor about how you are feeling? Apart from anything else to see if she really does feel you are nearly done or if that comes from you?
Good luck with it all x

Churchillian Wed 24-Jun-15 00:39:29

It's typical that in counselling you may feel better at the start as you offload on to the counsellor all of the things that are bothering you but as you have more sessions and start to explore deeper things it's normal to feel worse for a while as hidden feelings/thoughts come into the open. After that you may start to feel a little better. Hang in there, it sounds like you're getting there.

If you are paying, it's usually up to you when to stop seeing the counsellor - they would be unlikely to suggest stopping after 12 sessions. Perhaps you feel like the counsellor is going to tell you to stop going as you're getting close to her and that you have previously been rejected by people that you have been close to or told deeply personal things? The feelings you're having about this are part of the counselling process and it will probably be useful for you to discuss them with your counsellor, if you are able to.

Lastly, don't put yourself under pressure to talk about the 'very serious event' until you're ready - it doesn't sound like you are yet from the amount of stress it's causing you. Wait until the time feels right to you. And don't worry about becoming dependent on your counsellor - they will not let it happen. Give yourself time and I hope that the counselling works for you.

(Btw I'm an Ex counselling student and counselling client of 2+ years)

sliceofsoup Wed 24-Jun-15 09:06:58

Thank you both. Great replies.

Perhaps you feel like the counsellor is going to tell you to stop going as you're getting close to her and that you have previously been rejected by people that you have been close to or told deeply personal things?

That is very interesting. Certainly rings true.

At the last session I was quite upbeat, and the conversation lulled a bit at times, whereas before, stuff was spilling out of me at a fast pace. At the end of that session she said about narrowing things down at the next session and focusing on more specific issues. The week before last she asked was I ok to continue weekly or did I want to change to fortnightly.

Writing that down I can see that maybe I have interpreted her intentions wrongly. The weekly change could be down to finances, and the narrowing down doesn't necessarily mean stopping.

Regarding the amount of stress that the serious event is causing me, I have been blocking it out for 12 years now. Literally not thinking about it, and I have never told anyone about it in detail. I think my stress around it is just about actually saying the words and having to confront it in that sense. She wants to take it slowly, says it will be at my pace, and I trust her. But I know I will have to vocalise something that I have never vocalised before, and that is terrifying.

shovetheholly Wed 24-Jun-15 10:11:00

I think you do hit these periods in counselling where it is just hard. It sounds to me like you are nearing a breakthrough, but that you need to do quite a bit more therapy still. I don't mean that as a criticism at all - it's actually a sign of the progress you're making. You can only scratch the surface of things in 12 weeks, and now you're preparing to go a bit deeper. That's brave.

I know it's disheartening, but it takes a lot more than a few months of therapy to get rid of the ingrained habits of a lifetime - and your feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth sound quite deep-rooted. Don't beat yourself up for not being magically cured - no-one would be in that time. Rather, praise yourself for the continuing progress you're making.

mistymeanour Wed 24-Jun-15 10:23:07

I agree with the others - I think that now you are "narrowing" things down that this is when the "real" hard work will begin. Sometimes counsellors advise going to fortnightly sessions as some clients feel a week in between is not enough time to fully reflect and recover stability from the previous session.

I had 12 sessions through a course I was studying as the Therapist said that we could only barely scratch the surface with that. My friend has had weekly therapy for 3 years and she still feels the work has not really begun, but that the sessions keep her from imploding.

sliceofsoup Wed 24-Jun-15 10:23:18

Thanks. I am in this for the long haul tbh. I have known I needed counselling for a long time, and only now have I been in the position to begin it, both financially and emotionally. I fully expect to be going for months yet, which is why I went private, because I knew the NHS courses wouldn't be enough.

I think I just felt a bit panicked at the thought that the counsellor thought I was nearly ready to stop.

sliceofsoup Wed 24-Jun-15 10:27:32

Ah misty so I have completely taken her meaning the wrong way then. Thank you. Narrowing down is the right move for me, I definitely feel ready, it was just thinking it was a precursor to finishing that threw me.

I could kind of tell she didn't want me to move to fortnightly, and she knows I really do work on things in the week between, and think things through, but I guess she had to offer to give me the opportunity to change it if I needed to.

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