Not everyone finds it useful, desirable or easy to talk about past or present distress, but if you do need someone to talk to, who might it be? A friend, a relative or a professional counselor/therapist,…. all four? If worrying thoughts overwhelm you it may take a combination to help you manage your distress.
The support of friends or family can be immeasurable, but many are not so fortunate, and for some it’s these relationships which are contributing factors in their distress. Having a wide circle of friends or acquaintances is no guarantee that there will be someone among them with the capacity to listen adequately.
What can a counsellor or therapist offer that a friend or acquaintance may not? It is the assurance of their commitment to create a confidential space, and for an ongoing ‘contract’ in which skillful listening and interjection can take place.
Does counselling differ from therapy? What types are there? What guidelines and safeguards can you be assured of, should you decide it’s something that will help? These may seem like a lot of questions but they are important because like it or not we are a generation who have come to accept talking therapy as the norm.
The Counselling Directory goes some way to offering advice about where you might start in ensuring the best experience, see the information here. Unless you are in acute crisis, the most important advice in the directory is that of taking time to get well informed about what counselling and therapy entails,
” find… out as much as you can about counselling and psychotherapy,
read-up on the issue you are considering seeking help for, and
browse the therapy types so you can start to get a feel of what it is you want to achieve from the counselling process.”
The directory is a list of private therapists and explains why they provide the service they do,
“In 2005 we watched a close friend struggle to find the information they were looking for…emotional support… we realised there was a need for a service bringing together the information required to help individuals find a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist in their local area.
The Counselling Directory contains information on many different types of distress, as well as articles, news, and events”
Members who are listed in the directory have complied with the organisations verification requirements. As private practitioners members will charge for their services, of this the directory says,
You can find out …charges by having a look at the ‘Fees’ section on their individual profile page. Fees often depend on the location … and the experience of the counsellor/psychotherapist.
On average, expect to pay about £35 – £45 per 50 minute session.
Some counselors and psychotherapists may offer initial sessions free or reductions for the unemployed or those on a low income, so it’s always worth asking“
At times GP, school and charitable organisations have counselling and therapy services free or at low cost, alternatively a donation may be acceptable. If you are referred via a G.P. or other agency to some private practioners, sessions may be free of charge, but you will need to check this with them.
Here follows some useful links of services in Leeds which are free or low cost.
Mental Health Directory Leeds Mind
Dial House Information
Survivor Led Crisis Service Dial House, Santuary/Support/Connect Helpline
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (I.A.P.T.)
Guest blogger Toby post wrote here on Leeds Wellbeing Web in 2013.about what to expect of .I.A.P.T. A choice of short or longer contract, group or one-to-one work is available with waiting lists varying accordingly, months rather than weeks for the latter. Current trends show an increased availability of short over long term contracts, this might not be a trend to be welcomed for long standing issues of distress may benefit from longer term therapy.
If Counselling and Therapy are something to which you are drawn it’s good to remember that seeking talking therapy is not a sign of inadequacy, or necessarily that you don’t have anyone else to talk to. Being able to share with friends when troubled is a great comfort, and hopefully friends are willing to listen to any insights you glean in therapy. Attending Counselling or Therapy requires stamina, dedication and commitment in confronting your disquieting thoughts. Facing your ‘self’ may be scary so it’s also brave to be willing to do it, for over time and in order to defend our ego, we may have chosen only to perceive ourselves as altruistic. The outcome of counselling and therapy therefore may surprise you and others with an investment in that ‘old’ idealised you, but that is the subject of another blog post!
Image from You Tube Andria’s Counselling Session