When's the right time for counselling? Probably last year
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Anne Lindley-French MBACP, MA, MBA, PGCTLHE
2nd March, 20150 Comments
How do we work out when enough has become enough? And how do we tell someone we care about that we’re worried?
This is an impossible question to answer and the hardest part can often be defining enough of WHAT? Sometimes depression, anxiety and low mood have understandable causes – bereavement, relationship breakdown, illness, work difficulties, bullying etc.. However, on many occasions the reasons are not so obvious and we struggle to acknowledge how low we feel because we can’t define a precise reason as to WHY? We know our mood is low and that life has become difficult, but we don’t feel that the reasons are valid enough. We compare our pain to those in worse situations and decide it’s our fault, we need to muscle through and kick ourselves up the bum… again… and again… and again.
To help decide whether enough has really become enough, here are 10 pointers:
- It’s becoming difficult to remember when you last genuinely laughed.
- There are too many moments when you wish you'd been a bit more patient/kind/engaged/not angry.
- You've avoided social situations which you’d usually jump at.
- The hours awake in the night are getting longer.
- Comfort behaviours feel like they might be the only thing keeping you on track (booze, food, exercise, sex, gambling).
- You don’t know what to say to anybody any more, it doesn’t seem to make any difference and you feel like you're moaning.
- You’d rather not go out.
- Not being around doesn’t seem that bad, in fact it’s starting to seem easier.
- There’s not very much to like about yourself any more.
- You’re starting to admit that kicking yourself up the bum isn’t working, however hard you try.
If you recognise more of these than you like, allow yourself to take action. The root causes may be obvious or not, but the effect on you and those around you is the same – you deserve to live as well as you can and sometimes this means external help.
Most clients say they wish they had come to counselling far earlier than they did. Mind’s 2014 survey of 2,000 people trying to access talking therapies via the NHS showed 67% of people became more mentally unwell while waiting for therapy, 40% harmed themselves and one in six attempted to take their own life. Our 2014 Pilot Client Study showed that 86% of clients recorded a ‘significant positive effect over time’ once they had finished counselling.
Please don’t put off until next year what you could do today. And if you’re in the delicate position of watching someone else put it off, show them this blog and say I asked you to. It’s not an insult or a criticism, it’s because you care.
About the author
Anne Lindley-French is a Counsellor, Lecturer and Consultant. She is a Counsellor in private practice in Sheffield and online with the Beacon Counselling & Coaching Group and has worked as a Counsellor in the NHS in Sheffield and Barnsley.
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