Anxiety, depression and how counselling can help
I am often approached by people presenting with anxiety and depression difficulties. Many times people will arrive very timid and struggle to give eye contact, feeling uncomfortable and very unsure of their ability to cope in their current situation. What always surprises me is just how quickly people's worlds can shrink, as they try to avoid situations and people which they fear. They are in a state of anxiety which robs them of their previous outgoing self and are distressed, longing to know just where the outgoing and chatty person of old has gone.
Anxiety and Depression don’t discriminate.
Sometimes people have a rose-tinted view of who they were and perhaps they were never really that confident but they were able to get by. Other times people were confident, outgoing and enjoyed life until something occurred which shattered their beliefs about themselves and their abilities, causing them to slowly spiral into withdrawal and seclusion as they felt no longer able to cope.
Anxious people are not weak or inferior people, they could be you or me depending on our life experiences and ways of coping. Often as a result of anxiety, people become depressed and the way in which this depression takes hold can be so painful and overwhelming that many people feel there is no longer any hope and begin to give up.
How does integrated counselling help with anxiety and Depression?
As a counsellor, I have a person-centred background which I feel is enhanced by cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as this gives people the tools to quickly overcome their problems by exploring their thoughts and behaviours. Your counsellor will listen in an empathic and non-judgemental way but I often find that the person-centred approach alone can leave people feeling disempowered as they experience strong emotions, but not necessarily new ways of coping. This is where I feel CBT bridges the gap, offering a practical and empowering way to move forward and deal with what’s happening today, as you also explore where these emotions and feelings came from.
It is always a joy to see within a relatively short amount of time the same people sit back and relax, crack a joke and describe how they have overcome something they had been wanting to do for so long yet never felt capable of. Of course, this is not always the case but I feel it is a real privilege to see a client challenge the beliefs which they once held, and slowly but steadily overcome them. It is wonderful to be a small part of this process and to see a more confident and accepting person emerge.
How Counselling offers a way forward.
Anxiety and depression do not discriminate, and just because someone is confident and outgoing today doesn’t mean that they will always be that way. Likewise, if you are not the most confident person it doesn’t mean that you can’t change and become the person you would like to be. For me, this is why counselling is so important. When somebody makes that appointment they are refusing to accept things have to stay as they are. They are saying no, I want things to change!
I wholeheartedly believe that with the right help and commitment people can change both themselves and their lives. I find my job very fulfilling and my clients continually very inspiring.
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