It’s been about a year since I first started counselling, which is mad really. It only feels like a few weeks since I wrote this post about what my therapist taught me in 6 months! How time flies when you’re looking after your mental health…
To mark my “anniversary”, I wanted to share a few of the ways that counselling has massively helped my mental health. It has been really beneficial in supporting me through some pretty cruddy times recently and has also played a crucial role in my decision to go self-employed. Without counselling, I’m not sure where I would be both mentally and literally!
(Before I get started though, if you’re considering private counselling, do check out this post as well about why I decided to do it, and how you can too.)
A problem shared is a problem halved, right? But speaking to friends or family about some problems can be a struggle for a number of reasons. It may be something you find difficult talking about with a loved one, or it could be something embarrassing.
A counsellor is there to listen, and not to judge. They know the right questions to ask to make you delve deeper into whatever issue you are experiencing. They can’t, and won’t, form opinions around anything you say and will simply lend an ear, encouraging you to explore your emotions which often leads to you making your own realisations.
I’ve always been more of a listener than a talker (unless y’know, I’m distracted scrolling through Insta in which case I’m no good at either). Talking to a counsellor gives you a platform to speak your mind freely without worrying about dominating the conversation. A good counsellor will give you the room to speak, only asking questions or prompting you when needed.
I often get tongue tied and a bit lost mid-sentence, particularly when trying to articulate feelings. It’s why I enjoy writing because I can think things through before blurting them out. However, because counselling is all about blurting out how you feel, you learn strategies on how to better communicate those feelings to those who need to hear them.
It’s not about being “careful” with your words, it’s about getting to the root of the problem so you can easily explain it without causing any confusion or upset. Since I started counselling, I have become better at expressing myself without getting overly emotional or scrambling up what I really mean. Most of the time, anyway!
Counselling has also helped me to read others better – to understand different perspectives by being asked “well what if…” questions which encourage me to think more laterally about things.
One of the primary mental health concerns I have is the anxiety that is brought on by decision making and the unknown. I often overthink things and this can lead to unnecessary stress and self-doubt.
But by seeing a counsellor, I can discuss these concerns openly before tackling a situation in order to really process it and also as a reminder that overthinking is counterproductive! It’s not an easy fix to deal with, but by talking things through I can feel more relaxed and my counsellor is great at giving me ideas and tactics to avoid overanalysing.
There’s just three of the many ways counselling can help with mental health issues. If you are struggling, please do check out the Counselling Directory which is an amazing resource and can help you find a local counsellor in your area (not an ad, just a handy place to go for support!)