How can talking about anxiety and depression help?
Counselling is a very unusual process because it is all about talking to a stranger, how can that possibly help?
When we talk to friends, family members, or even work colleagues, we will have an agenda which may be to protect, impress or self-protection. We are often not even aware of this because it is something we do automatically as part of 'fitting in'. This different when you are with a counsellor because you don’t know that person and they have no direct impact on your life, other than in the counselling sessions.
This idea that this person is separate to your life is a very liberating idea, because it means you can share things with that person that you don’t feel able to share with others because you will be burdening them or causing them 'harm'. As the counsellor is independent and doesn't know people in your life, you can take that risk.
Both anxiety and depression can have lots of 'negative emotions' attached to them and those emotions/feelings tend to be very difficult to share with others, as sometimes there is shame about what can be very painful or difficult feelings.
When you can share these feelings with someone else in a 'real' way, it is like looking under the bed for the monster, you may find something there but it almost certainly isn’t a monster. What you can then do, is look at what you have found and with understanding, you can make an informed choice about how you react to a situation or feeling. Just to be clear, it is a perfectly viable choice to react the same way you have, but the difference is you are doing so with the understanding of the consequences.
Depression can often be a side effect of anger that we turn on ourselves. What talking about the anger does, is it allows you look at the anger and to understand where it comes from? By having a better understanding, it allows you to apportion your anger to the appropriate recipient, often this means that it is not all about you. This can be a very difficult process, but with the appropriate support it can be done and by doing so, it allows you to take back control of your life.
Anxiety can also have similar roots in our past and it is about trying to understand what the anxiety is about for you. As a greater understanding comes, it allows you to understand what the anxiety is about for you and how to best manage it. By talking about this, it allows you to express your thoughts and feelings and by doing that, it will lessen the anxiety because you are more familiar with it and have an understanding about what the trigger is for you.
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About Andrew Regan
I am a qualified BACP registered counsellor.
I have worked as a volunteer working with clients since 2007.
I have over 5 years working as a private practitioner.
I have a master in contemporary therapeutic counselling from the University of Hertfordshire.