Mental health issues
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How does one "do" counselling?

CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
I'm on a waiting list for counselling with Mind and would like to ask how should I approach it?

Many years ago I had 6 sessions (that's all you were allowed at my GPs)

I remember sitting there as the counsellor explained it was his job to listen and he couldn't tell me what to do and I thought "well this is pointless"
The first couple of sessions was me crying my eyes out, telling the sad sorry tale of my pathetic life and him responding with what I saw as his repertoire of suitably understanding, sympathetic umms and ahhs with facial expressions to match...and again thinking "this is pointless"
I felt like I was just pouring words into a void...

For the later sessions, "moving on from here" and "looking to the future" was used a lot and I thought "why is he talking about moving on as if something has been resolved? It hadn't...I felt no different to when I started.

I know some people find getting things off their chest helpful...but I dont.
Am i approaching it wrong or is that all it is?

I couldn't bring myself to attend the final session, imagining it to be along the lines of, well i really think we made progress and me wanted to shout "is that all you've got? 
Am i doing it wrong? Lol


  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,379 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    A good counsellor guides gently so no, you’re not doing it wrong. The idea is that the client is the best expert in her/his situation. The counsellor facilitates so that the client can attempt to put often nebulous ideas into a coherent form and through so doing realise some answers to their own situation. Through talking you as client may reframe and come to some conclusions.

    you as client can’t do it wrong unless you expect psychotherapy which is a different thing altogether and takes a great number of consultations sometimes over years.
  • Wini1960Wini1960 Member Posts: 125 Pioneering
    [email protected] Going private makes all the difference. Even if you have to go through a few counsellors inti one fits you. Counsellors only give you the tools to help you find what is already inside of you. It took 18 sessions before I could reclaim my life. Counselling is not for everyone if your not prepared to put in some hard work of self discovery and going through the pain until you can make peace with the past and say hello to your future. I hope somehow this helps a little. All the very best for the future. Apologies for any mistakes I'm still recovering from.cataract surgery.

  • CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
    Huge thanks to @leeCal and @Wini1960

    I just couldn t understand how he was so far removed from the page I was on...for instance, I'd talked about how it wasn't until I was older that I'd realized how affected I was by the fact that my father, well both parents really, just had no interest in me, no abuse, well no physical abuse but verbal abuse and neglect. I was always taken aback by how other parents seemed to like, even love their kids!...he asked me"Was it important that everyone liked me?" I thought ffs, how does what I just said lead him to that conclusion..I need everyone to like me! 

    I'd talked about how difficult I'd found raising my two kids, the eldest having numerous problems and that I was angry with myself for not coping better...From this he gathered that I was wanting a husband to "take care" of me!

    Words failed me...
  • CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
    @Wini1960 unfortunately going private isn't an option yet.
    I'm hoping to be able to afford to next year...really hope I just had a crappy counsellor the last time!

    I recently applied for PIP for mental health although I dont want to get my Hopes up that will certainly help pay for private...
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,055 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Hi @Cress - I'm not able to answer your query as others have done so well. However, just watching a video again that I saw at a 'virtual' conference about my neurological problems (Chiari 1 Malformation), altho I gave a link to it recently, I thought it was worth mentioning 'just in case.'
    It was first presented last year, but thought worth repeating in July this year.
    Scientists are finding out more & more how the 'Gut-brain axis' may be implicated in many disorders, including depression. Please see: Perhaps another avenue to explore? :)
  • CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
    Thanks @chiarieds I'll take a look at that.
    I have read  somewhere about that.i think it was talking about inflammation and other intestinal problems being linked to depression..sounded implausible and yet plausible,  if you know what I mean? Lol

    It would be so brilliant to find a physical and as such, curable cause for depression.

    I know people have been helped with psychological and anti depressant treatments but the longer I go on with no change the less inclined I am to think they really work...
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,055 Disability Gamechanger
    @Cress - please do look. You might find the first few minutes boring, but they are important in understanding things. Depression is mentioned some 13 mins in. Nothing to lose, other than wasting less than 30 mins of your life. The gut has been called the 2nd brain, & yes, it's about neuroinflammation. It just might be something else to consider. :)
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,379 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    @cress you mention that you weren’t loved as a child, I had the same problem. it was even the prime cause of my selective mutism which I’ve written about elsewhere today. Eventually I learned that nothing can compensate for that loss of love except learning that you are valid and in that way validated by yourself. I’ve had counselling and I even saw an nhs psychologist for two years without any real effect unless in some subtle way I can credit them with this gradual realisation that I, myself, must validate me. 

    As far as my late parents are concerned I forgive them for being human and having human failings, they simply couldn’t help their indifference towards me, as an adult I understand this and understand that I had little to do with their indifference. I’ve ‘moved on’ which is a cliche I know but literally it no longer matters to me. I validate myself unconditionally.
  • CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
    Strange or maybe not but I forgave my father a long time ago as I didn't matter to him, crushing as it was, he didn't go out of his way to hurt me...I was the youngest, unplanned and he just didn't care.
    My mother I can not forgive as she would and still does have a really malicious streak, who has taken pleasure from hurting many people over the years...that's a whole lot worse then anything my father did.
    I've had no want or need to be loved by them for a long time..I simply cant respect them...I would have dearly loved an ok set of parents though.

    I will sometimes try to convince people I'm an ok person, not a complete waste of oxygen, when the need arises, but the trouble is I dont believe it, ever...and I cant see how to change that...thanks for sharing your thoughts and's not easy.
    And thankyou again @chiarieds
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,379 Disability Gamechanger
    Well, I’d say that we are the ultimate judge of ourselves, after all we know ourselves,our strengths and weaknesses our good points and bad better than anyone else. So how we judge ourselves is what matters, and you’re right, nothing anyone can say can change that. Speaking for myself I’d say that I changed how I judged myself and by weighing up the evidence following many trials I decided in my favour.
  • CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
    I have no clue how to judge myself...I realised a few years ago that I only ever go on others judgement of me.. in that if someone says I'm like this or that I think it must be fact ..I'd really like to find out who I am and what I may be capable of without the constant self doubt , self loathing....oh hell...I'm sounding like a student wanting to take a gap year to "find myself"...( I always figured try finding yourself down the back of the sofa, it's where everything ends up and costs less, lol)
    I'm glad you decided in your
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,055 Disability Gamechanger
    Well I'm coming across this with another generation's perspective. I was well-loved by my adoptive parents; I couldn't have had better. However, I can only know say I married wrongly....this later affected both of my children. I tried to give them the love that they should have had from both of us. I didn't know what was wrong until my son realised I was suffering verbal & emotional abuse when I decided to separate from my husband.
    My eldest daughter had self-harmed; my son suffered depression for 2 years, but they've both thankfully come through, & know how much I love them.
    Don't know if this helps, but hope so. My son spent 2 years searching for why his Dad had been how he'd answers. There often isn't an answer, but know you were never at fault, so don't judge yourself.
  • CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
    Thankyou for that @chiarieds ...
    I've watched the video you posted, fascinating stuff and certainly something I'll look into.
    One of the articles I read yesterday had advice on various supplements that may help, so I'll be giving them a go...cant hurt right?
  • CressCress Member Posts: 498 Pioneering
    Good to know you and your children have got through what must have been an horrific time...
    Best wishes
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 683 Pioneering
    @Chiarieds thank for link. ( I thought you had chosen a pretty name, similar to the Welsh  Caried, and it turns out to be something  ailing you!)
    @Cress thanks for the humour (try "finding  yourself" down the back of the sofa!)  Counsellors  may be ten a penny,  but yours would have been over charging at that rate.
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,055 Disability Gamechanger
    @Cress - Great you watched the video, hope that + supplements do help. My best wishes to you too.
    @newborn - Yes, my username stands for Chiari 1 Malformation & Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), so chiarieds :)
  • WorldsoldestNEETWorldsoldestNEET Posts: 42 Member
    If you can say "How does that make you feel", you qualify as a councillor.
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 683 Pioneering
    That made me laugh, worldsoldestN!
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Councillors, like everyone vary. Some are good and some not so much. The NHS system is not particularly helpful with an initial 6 weeks and then, if you need more, a long wait for another 6 weeks. Like you I found it pointless. I searched the internet and found a local group that I attended every 2 weeks for some time. Again Councillors vary but I had a lovely lady who was quite good but it depends on what sort of level person you need (something the NHS completely ignores). I attended for a long time and felt better until I realized that all I was doing every visit was moaning about the things that had gone wrong in every 2 week period (yes, things were that awful with the support services).

    The basic concept seems to be for them to get you to work out exactly what you need. I just got to the point that I knew what I needed, I just wasn't allowed it. So I stopped.

    I'd recommend looking into the local area options rather than using a big name.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,059

    Scope community team

    I think some really interesting points have been made here @Cress, so hopefully you've got some food for thought.

    I just wanted to add that it's totally fine to bring this up with a future counsellor. If they're worth their salt they'll embrace any questions you have about the process, and what their intentions are with certain phrases etc. They might not give you super straight answers, but they should be able to help you explore the counselling process in itself, if that makes sense.
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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