Recognising that you need help and taking that first step to look for a therapist and book the initial session is a major step, never to be underestimated.
You may have already gone through the process of choosing a therapist that you feel might be the right one for you.
(If you have not chosen a therapist or not sure how to choose a right therapist for you, here is a link to my blog The Top 3 Things To Consider When Choosing A Therapist. http://www.clearskytherapy.co.uk/blogs/the-top-3-things-to-consider-when-choosing-a-therapist)
Now, you must be wondering about what to expect from your first session.
Below I have listed 5 Things To Expect From Your First Counselling Session.
1 Expect to feel anxious:
It is very natural to feel anxious, as you may not know what will happen in your first session. You may even wonder what will be expected of you. Anxiety may arise around finding the location and getting there on time; all of this is normal and can be part of your initial anxiety. I would advise you try and relax if you can (look for some relaxation techniques or ask a trusted friend). The therapist will be there to guide you. In order to do this initially, they will ask for the information in order to assess your need and establish how they are going to help you.
2 Gauging Rapport:
This initial session is an important session to see:
3 Check out the environment:
When you meet the therapist for the first time, check out the surrounds, inside and outside the therapy room. Think about how it feels to be there. Consider how you felt on your way to your session. Check out the room and see if it feels welcoming and calming to you. Ask yourself: Do I feel comfortable being here? If you do, it will help you to talk to the therapist and get the most out of your session.
This initial session is for the therapist to assess your needs and difficulties. It may involve talking about the framework; meaning they may explain how they work and what is expected of you. Though, do not forget the sessions are your space and time for you to talk about what you want/need to. You may be asked to fill out a form and perhaps sign an agreement. You will be given an explanation about confidentiality and the cancellation policy.
This session may be used to talk about your background, your past experiences and you may be asked what it is that you wish to get out of these sessions.
You will also have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
5 You are in charge:
From the moment you recognised that you are not able to cope and/ or manage your present situation; when you started to feel that you would benefit from seeking help, to your first initial consultation, remember YOU are in charge of this decision.
Whether you wish to express in your first or future sessions that this is not the right time for you or the right therapist for you, you will not be forced to make a decision there and then or to book further sessions. Remember you can agree to continue OR to take time to think and then get back to them.
Therapy is about exploring your thoughts and feelings around what is happening to you. It is always a two-way process. A therapist is there to guide you, empower you and support you. It is up to you as to how much you are able to be open and what you want to talk about. But what I will say is the more you do the more you will benefit from it.
Remember, therapists do not have a magic wand to take away your troubles, but they will be there to support you through your journey and see you through your difficult times.
If you feel this has helped you, please feel free to comment. Click the Contact tab on my site if you think you would like to chat to me about how I can help you.
I am also active on Social Media; you can follow my posts, get in touch and follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ClearSkyTherapy,
Sometimes life may seem overwhelming, confusing, and challenging.
It can leave you wondering: Why me? Why now?
It may feel like a lot might be going on in different areas of your life at the same time, or a tragedy may have struck, or a traumatic incident could have taken place.
These could bring up a lot of emotions like shock, anger, and sadness. You may feel that you do not know how to cope with it all, or whom you can turn to for help.
You may have supportive family, friends, and colleagues. A lot of work places even run a wellbeing scheme, which you may be able to take advantage of.
However, for some of us, it does not help to talk to friends and family because feeling embarrassed or ashamed about not being “strong” enough, or capable of handling the situation. Sometimes we may feel that no one listens to or can understand us.
Here are 7 reasons why counselling can help:
There can be a lot of stigma around counselling. Some people feel they have to be “crazy”, weak or have something wrong with them in order to seek counselling. However, talking to a counsellor does not mean you are going crazy or you lack strength.
In fact, it takes a MASSIVE courage to seek out help. If reading this has helped you to recognise that you need help, then do not wait. Here’s a link to my previous blog about The Top 3 Things to consider when choosing a therapist.
If you feel I can help you, please be in touch by sending a message via my contact page.
Valentine’s Day is almost here. Commercially it has been hyped and displayed everywhere you go. It is great for people who have a “Valentine” and looking forward to celebrating the day.
However, what about people who may be single, recently broke up from a relationship, or may have lost their valentine due to death or other circumstances?
To these ones, Valentines Day may not seem fair and could cause emotional pain. It could also bring up painful memories of loss or the reminder of a lack of a relationship.
How can we survive such an emotionally charged day if this is how we feel?
Also, it would raise the question: Why are loved ones expected to shower each other with extra efforts, gifts, time and money to acknowledge the love for each other specifically on this day?
Read my 7 tips to how to survive Valentine’s Day
1 It is ok: Tell yourself it is ok to be single, not to have a date or a relationship.
2 Be your own Valentine: It is time to show love to yourself by doing something special for yourself that would make you happy.
3. Show your strength: It is a sign of strength by not giving into the hype and by feeling sad or sorry for yourself. Having a relationship with you shows your strength.
4. Acknowledge YOU: Take a day out to pamper yourself by treating yourself to a treatment, do meditation, go shopping, arrange a get together with your friends, go to a museum and spend some quality time with yourself.
5. Remind: Remind yourself Valentine’s Day is not just on 14th Feb. Love for yourself should be celebrated everyday.
6. Loss/Grief: If you have lost your loved one due to a break up, through death, or any other circumstances and are missing them, try and think of good memories of them, and treasure those memories and try to find peace within yourself.
7. Nothing lasts forever: Remember, situations will change. Who knows, your valentine could be just round the corner and you may be celebrating the whole year with them soon rather than just on Valentine’s day
Here are my parting words on this matter:
Valentine’s day is what you make of it. Being your own valentine is important before being someone else’s. Try and make the most of each day by loving yourself and spreading love to others. Let me know which tips worked for you and get in touch if you would like some support around any of these issues.
You can get in touch by twitter @counsellorHA1 and Facebook www.facebook.com/ClearSkyTherapy
It is not always easy to seek help or to know when to get help. If you are considering getting help from a counsellor/psychotherapist, here are the 3 top factors to consider.
1) Qualifications, experience, and their membership to a professional body:
These days there is an overwhelming choice of therapists and modalities to choose from. This can make the task harder.
Check out their qualifications to assure yourself that they have done the necessary work of learning and understanding how to help their clients. See how many years of experience that they have, what areas they work with, and if they work with the specific issues that you are looking to get help with.
Each qualified therapist is expected to be a member of a professional body. They are also expected to adhere to that body’s ethical framework. Some recognized professional bodies include the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and the UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy).
What impression does a therapist’s profile have on you? It is important to connect with the right therapist.
Have a read of their profiles on a counselling directory and from their professional bodies. A lot tend to post their photographs, look at them and see if you feel that you can speak to them, talk to them, and connect with them. Go with your initial/gut instinct. If you feel positive about the therapist after reading their profile, what they offer, and if they work with your presenting issues, contact them for an initial consultation.
Of course, meeting them in person can help to make your final decision on whether to continue or not.
3) Practical and convenience:
Check out their location: is it convenient and to get to via car or public transport? Are there parking facilities? What do they offer? What is the length of their sessions? What are their fees?
It is sometime hard to recognise and accept we need help. Once you accept go and get the help. It is good to talk and get a different perspective and support. Help is at hand. Feel free to message me if you feel I may be able to help you.
I would love to hear how you get on, feel free to contact me on Twitter @counsellorHA1 and Facebook www.facebook.com/ClearSkyTherapy
Beat The January Blues With These 5 Tips
January is almost coming to an end. It may have brought mixed emotions and feelings.
A lot of people find this month difficult, depressing, and mundane. Winter months are dark and grey. It is a month of getting back into routines and juggling the work-life balance once again.
If you share this experience of coming through winter with feelings of stress and disappointment, do not worry it is normal. However you can take some action to give yourself the care you need. Read my 5 tips below and try out at least one in the coming month.
Here are five tips to take care yourself, and to beat the residue of January Blues.
1. Socialise: Meet up with your friends and family for a coffee or a night out. Go to social events. Network and try to meet new people. Find out about events for your hobbies, and meet with groups who share your interests.
2. Exercise: Go for walks, exercise, find physical activities that don’t feel like a chore, eat healthily, and drink plenty of water. You will start feeling better emotionally, physically and mentally.
3. Plan something to look forward to: Plan your next holiday or mini-break. Plan to visit friends and/or family. Book tickets to the theatre, or a football match. Having something to get excited about will keep your spirits up.
4. Meditate: Meditate every day for 20 minutes. Start with 2 minutes and increase up to 20 minutes. Join Yoga classes and practice every day. This will clear your mind and help you to feel less overwhelmed.
5. Relax: Learn to set time aside just to relax. Spend some quality time with yourself and with your family members.
I would love to hear how you get on, feel free to contact me on Twitter @counsellorHA1 and Facebook www.facebook.com/ClearSkyTherapy
Those young adults who live away from home have now returned to university.
Having them back at home over the Christmas break could have been exciting, especially around the festive season. All that may be over now, but the new year has begun and with that so has their new term.
Here are 5 R’s to consider through this transitional period.
Routine: Get back into the routine of work-life balance, you may find that it helps to keep yourself busy. Focus on the other children you may have at home, and spend quality time with them to rebuild/strengthen those relationships.
Reassure: Reassure yourself that they are doing fine and getting on with their independent life. Reassure yourself that this is a big transition for you, that both of you will get through. Missing them can be upsetting, but very natural. If you feel that you are not able to cope with this transition, seek help. Talking to a professional can help you with your personal difficulties in this situation.
Remember: They are trying to be independent: finding themselves, and coping with university life. They know where you are, and how to contact you if they should need your help. Being there for them from afar is still reassuring for them.
Rekindle: Rekindle your relationship with your partner. Taking care of children can be tough, and the relationship between partners can be somewhat affected. Taking time out for each other will strengthen your relationship, and give you a support system if you are struggling with this.
Realise: You have a life to live beyond your responsibilities. Give yourself permission to enjoy life and do the things that make you happy. As your child is trying to find themself, you too could use this time to rediscover yourself.
The second term of university is about to begin, and parents of these young adults may start to have some mixed feelings about their children going back to university and leaving home yet again. For a lot of parents in this position, this could be a difficult time.
Here are 5 tips that can provide a practical way of dealing with this transition:
Parting from our young adults is never easy but accepting and acknowledging the fact that they are growing up and trying to be independent is important to their growth and confidence. So, taking step back, being patient and supporting is very empowering them to find themselves. At the same time taking care of yourself is vital during this transition.
Click here to read 5 Tips For Parents To Cope Once Children Go Back To University.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is counselling?
Counselling is a way of exploring your issues and difficulties with someone who is trained in how to. Counselling provides consistency, non-judgemental, confidential space where you can talk about your fears, confusion and gain insight and understanding into what is causing you discomfort in your life with the help of a neutral trained professional.
How does Counselling help?
Counselling helps to explore, understand and become aware of your feelings. Gaining the above may help you to cope better and se things from different perspective and hopefully move on in your life with greater understanding and confidence.
What is stigma?
Stigma is a negative label, belief, and misconception about a particular subject/topic.
What are the myths and truths?
Stigma about counselling is obstacles, which prevents one from seeking help and/or better themselves. It is generalised belief that if you need or even think about counselling which might mean that you are going mad, you are a nutcase, you are losing it or you have mental health problems and you might end up in mental institute. Fear of ending up in a mental institute or being a nut case is overwhelming and scary and one can than do many things to avoid thinking they have issues, problems or difficulties or they are unable to cope with it or their day to day life. Needing help also seen as a weakness. Needing or seeking help specially like counselling is looked down upon in many cultures. It is believed that one should not talk to a stranger about their problems, one should be able to deal or resolve their problems by themselves or by talking to a close family members or with a close friends or in many culture it is advised to sweep it under the carpet, stiff up a lip and get on with it. Often there is worry amongst the family member if they are being talked about and how they might be judged. It is also seen as bringing shame on family. What will others might think. A bit of guilt and shame on the parents, partners and family members if they feel they may have a part in family member needing/seeking counselling. Unfortunately the same stigma is passed to young people as well.
Seeking counselling is a very healthy approach, it is logical, realistic and right way of going about resolving issues and difficulties when it has not resolved in other ways tried. It is also indication of accepting that one has issues and difficulties in their life due to past experiences and/or present circumstances and it may feel overwhelming and confusing. Sometimes it is difficult to explore this with friends and/or family members; as they might be the part of the problems and/or might not be able to empathise or perhaps, you might not want the advise and just wants to be heard, listened to and understood. It might be that you need the clarity and understanding on what the issues are in reality.
There might be on going issues from your childhood/past which may have also become a repeated pattern and you are not aware or sure how to break or overcome.
What is the role of a counsellor?
A trained counsellor’s job is to provide you with consistency, provide you with a confidential, safe space for you to openly express your feelings and to talk about your issues and difficulties without feeling being judged. A counsellor is a neutral, qualified, experienced professional who comes with you on your journey, go with your pace, hold you, listen to you and try and understand your difficulties and issues from your perspective and understand you and use that understanding and her/his skills to explore and guide you and help you to bring into your awareness and help you to understand why you feel the way to help you gain insight and hopefully help you to move forward with confidence and positivity and maybe learn how to cope with your difficulties.
One should not feel ashamed in seeking help or guidance. It is not a weakness. It is a strength – strength of recognising and accept that you are going through a rough time, having some issues and difficulties and importantly you want to do something about resolving it and overcome your difficulties. It is about having that control to take charge and change how you feel to how you would like to be and feel. It is about getting clarity, understanding and being aware of roots of your issues and difficulties and improves the quality of your life and your relationship with others.