Why do people come to counselling?

There seems to be a misconception that counselling is only for those who are suffering with a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder etc.

You can come to counselling for any number of reasons such as:

  • A mental health condition as referred to above
  • A life event such as bereavement or redundancy
  • Living with and managing an illness or chronic pain
  • Coping with a life change such as perimenopause, menopause or having children
  • Navigating emotions such as anger, sadness, loneliness, unhappiness or jealously etc
  • Low self-esteem or lack of confidence
  • A traumatic event
  • Infertility or miscarriage
  • Addiction
  • Gender
  • Bullying

This list is not exhaustive.

You are unique and your personal circumstances may lead you to come for some other reason that does not involve a mental health problem, trauma or big event. It could be that you are finding it harder than usual dealing with a common life issue such as:

  • A problem in your relationship
  • Exam stress
  • Navigating friendship issues or relationships with others
  • Work related stress
  • Navigating a decision to change careers
  • Lack of meaning or purpose

Again, this list is not exhaustive.

You might not even know what it is that you want to talk about, but you know that something does not feel quite right because you are feeling stressed, numb, hurt or alone. By talking things through with a counsellor you might be able to identity the reason that is leading you to feel the way you do.

There is no measure or level at which you need to have reached before you can come to counselling. You do not need to have hit an all time low or rock bottom before you see a counsellor. You can come to counselling at whatever stage you are at for whatever is on your mind or whatever you are going through. I ask why would you not treat your mental wellbeing in the same way you would treat your physical wellbeing? So, for me this means attending to things that are causing you to feel the way you do before it gets worse. In reality you do not even need to be going through something big or to be really struggling to benefit from counselling.

Speaking to friends and family can sometimes help. They can be of great support and be someone to off load to. Often friends and family will give you advice and offer their opinion. Sometimes you may want to hear their advice and opinion. However, there can be times when you just want them to listen but instead you may feel judged, unheard and alone. There can also be occasions where you cannot speak to friends or family because you are worried about what they will think or because your problem involves them.

The benefits of counselling

So, what are the benefits of counselling? Some of the benefits include:

  • Having a safe space to talk to someone without judgment
  • The session is 100% about you
  • Speaking to a counsellor can enable you to explore thoughts, feelings and emotions to help you to make sense of why you are thinking and feeling a certain way
  • Helping you to recognise unhelpful thinking patterns or ways of behaving and to enable you to take steps to change if it is something you want to change
  • Improve relationships with others
  • A counsellor will not give advice, offer opinion or tell you what to do but through the process it can help to enable you to uncover your own understanding of your problems and what the right solution is for you
  • Increase self awareness and help you to understand yourself better
  • To understand the importance of taking care of yourself and be kinder to yourself

If there are so many benefits, why does the stigma around counselling still exist in the UK?

Mental health and mental wellbeing has never been talked about so much as it has in recent times. Schools, colleges and workplaces all have a focus on mental wellbeing. You will also see references made in the press and in reels on Instagram and TikTok. In recent times a number of high profile recording artists have pulled out of touring to focus on their mental health. Mental health and mental wellbeing is being talked about.

However, despite this increase in awareness a stigma still seems to exist around going to counselling. There is still a big cultural difference between the UK and American public regarding counselling. Many US films and TV shows making reference to characters going to therapy and nobody has a second thought about it. It is commonplace.

Some of the stigma may come from what people have seen on TV where the client is asked to lie on a couch. Counselling is not about clients lying on a couch. Whilst this was a method used by Freud and some Psychoanalysts may still ask clients to do this today, counsellors will not. You are more liking to be sitting on a chair or sofa or having a session from the comfort of your own home by way of a video conferencing platform.

It may be that potential clients are put off because they think counselling is all about blaming their parents. Whilst for some clients looking at the past, in particular their childhood might be relevant, it is always a choice as to whether you want to. That being said not all counselling theories focus on the past. Some look at how things are affecting you in the here and now.

How about giving counselling a go?

So many of my clients have said how helpful talking to somebody that is not a friend or a family member is. It can be daunting taking that first step to approach a counsellor. I encourage you try and contact a few counsellors as finding the right fit for you is important. Many counsellors offer a free 15 minute call and some even offer a free first session. Check out my next blog How to choose a counsellor .

If you are interested in having counselling with me, please contact me today. I am contactable via phone, email, WhatsApp or via my contact page . I look forward to hearing from you.