How counselling works for anxiety and depression
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
19th March, 20130 Comments
Depression and anxiety can be overpowering affecting all areas of life. Sufferers often feel alone or isolation. Perhaps believe that that others will not understand, that people will see them as being sad, or that they should “just pull themselves together”. Yet these responses by others are to completely misunderstand the nature of depression and anxiety.
Those suffering from depression will often describe themselves as pawns in their own life. They can be overwhelmed by emotions caused by people, events and feelings. There is a sense of wanting the world to stop so that you can catch up and get on top of things again.
Anxiety can play a big part too, it can accompany our thoughts always spiralling down to the worst possible outcome: For example: we will lose our job, or our friends will leave us. There can be a certain resignation, a fatalism that the worst will happen and in some senses we deserve it. It can be very hard to get out of these negative thinking patterns especially when you feel that others will judge you (negatively) for being like that.
Phobias and panic attacks are often associated with those with anxiety and these produce strong (unpleasant) emotional responses, that in themselves set up a fear of them happening again and others seeing which can lead the person to withdraw further.
There is hope both anxiety and depression have been shown to respond to counselling and people have not only recovered, but got back to the lives that they wanted and had before they became anxious or depressed.
Counselling is in the first place about providing a safe space, one in which you will not be judged and that what happens and is said follows your agenda – you are in control. With your counsellor you will start to look at the emotional responses that you are having. You will learn to confront assumptions about your issues, are they based on evidence or what you think you know. You will look at what you are worried will happen and look at all the outcomes not just the worst scenario. You will learn to be able to deploy these resources for yourself, so while your counsellor has helped you through this current episode, should you encounter the problem again you are in a position to tackle the issues for yourself.
A significant part of the process is about beginning to value you and learning to care for yourself emotionally. There is also an opportunity to discuss underlying issues that may have started the depression or anxiety. Common triggers are stress, relationship problems or bereavement. One in four of us likely will suffer mental illness in our lives. We should feel comfortable about going to a counsellor if it strikes in the same way we might take toothache to a dentist.
In conclusion many people are helped every year to overcome anxiety and depression. Your GP will be a good first port of call; they often prescribe medication to manage your symptoms to help you function more normally. Increasingly they are then suggesting counselling as a long term treatment to solve the issues in the long run.
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