How to know when you might need counselling
Time to Talk Day is about raising awareness about how small conversations can make a big difference to our mental health.
And that’s never been more important than right now.
One small conversation that might prove transformational, is the one that brings us to counselling.
But how do we know when it’s the right time to reach out for that help?
Here at The Counselling Centre, we believe that if you feel you’d like to speak to someone, that’s a pretty good sign it’s the right time. You might not be sure about what you’d like to talk about, or even what the problem is, but if there’s a nagging feeling telling you it might be helpful, there’s no harm in following it up.
Other signs that some extra support might be helpful include:
- Any noticeable, sustained changes in your mood, such as feeling persistently low or sad, listless, lacking in motivation, reduced self-esteem, difficulty focusing on work or other tasks. Other changes could be an increase in feelings of anger, rage or aggression.
- You find yourself withdrawing from others, or find it’s difficult to talk openly about how you really feel with those around you.
- You feel unable to manage the demands of work, home, your finances, your relationships or parenting.
- You generally feel things are getting on top of you and you’re struggling to cope.
- You are dwelling on particular problems that have been troubling you for some time and you feel unable to find a way through.
- You feel experiences from your past continue to affect you in the present, and you’d like some space to explore why that may be.
- You’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or you find yourself acting on, or making plans for, either.
Others have it worse, don’t they?
Often people come to us believing their problems are insignificant, that how they feel doesn’t really matter. We hear ‘others have it so much worse’ all the time.
But we’d like to reassure you that what matters most is how you feel. You will always be taken seriously, and listened to without judgement.
Things aren’t so bad, really…
We also believe that getting in touch before things become unbearable is a very helpful step to take. Sometimes we are aware that all is not well, but we push it to the side because we’re still coping or life mainly seems fine. It can feel pointless to seek help at this point, because we believe things have to be serious before we do. However, reaching out before things do become more problematic can be really helpful in the long-run, preventing us from more difficulty further down the line.
Will it make me feel worse?
One question that comes up frequently in the early stages of counselling is: ‘will this make me feel worse?’ People sometimes come with the fear that talking will open up things they don’t feel ready to face, or that finding words to express how they feel will lead them to unravel.
There is no straight answer to how you’ll feel when you start counselling, it’s different for everyone, but some people do find it difficult in the beginning. That’s why we take care to make sure counselling is the right help, at the right time for you during your initial assessment session.
It’s also important to say that you set the pace in your sessions – you don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to, and you get to choose what you cover and when. Our counsellors are all trained to think carefully about how sessions are paced, and will work alongside you to make sure your work together feels manageable and helpful throughout the process.
Typically we more often hear about the relief that comes with starting counselling – that finally there is a place to talk about things that could have been troubling for years. The knowledge that there is a regular, safe space to think about thoughts and feelings, can be tremendously reassuring.
Making a start
Often the hardest step is the first step. We understand how difficult it can be to pick up the phone or write that email, to say ‘I think I might need some help’.
However, if you feel your Time to Talk has come, we’re just a click or phone call away: Making an Appointment | The Counselling Centre
If you – or anyone else – need help urgently, please call 999 or contact The Samaritans on 116 123
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