Making that call or sending that email can be a very hard thing to do. In recognition of this, I thought that I would share some personal experiences of counselling and psychotherapy. I hope they will inspire you to make that call. (Names have been changed to protect confidentiality).
The best thing I ever did
I never really believed in counselling or that I would ever need the support of therapy. My friends pushed me to go to counselling and I went, even though I never believed it would help. It turned out to be the best thing I ever did. My counsellor helped me to work through everything and to move forward by myself, stronger and happier than I had ever been before. For me counselling was a journey of self discovery. To those like me who don’t believe, trust me, when you find the right counsellor with whom you can connect it will be the best decision you ever make. Jack, 37
What to look for
I’ve been to a few counsellors and like anything in life I rated some more than others. My tip would be to find someone you feel really comfortable with, but at the same time someone who will challenge you. Also, remember you’re supposed to be working things through, so there’s no point hiding anything because you’re embarrassed or ashamed. Take all your dirty baggage along and let it all hang out! Mark, 28
What's it like?
I always wondered what psychotherapy would be like. The best thing about it is that you can say anything, and talk about whatever you want, and you never feel judged in the slightest – only supported. It’s like there’s someone there who’s rooting for you and won’t give up on you. It’s almost like a form of unconditional love. Trisha, 44
Don’t put it off
I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time before I emailed my counsellor and got going. I spent ages looking at faces and visiting websites, but kept putting off getting in touch. Now I’d say, if you keep thinking about seeing a therapist, you probably should go – so start now! Mary, 48
It's for people like you and me
I never thought I would go to see a counsellor or therapist. I used to think it was for people who were either totally incompetent or else very ill. Now I know it’s also for people like me – normal people going through the normal ups and downs of life – and I recommend it for everyone! Aaron, 33
It helped us both
We went for couples counselling after we spent a whole weekend arguing. One of our children started crying when we were still at it on Sunday night, and we stopped, looked at each other in horror and agreed we’d give counselling a go. We talked a lot and listened to each other talking a lot. Our counsellor helped us both try to understand each other better. Once you really understand why someone behaves the way they do, it becomes possible to forgive or overlook their shortcomings. It’s like we’ve learned how to talk to each other all over again. We still argue sometimes, but we also know when and how to stop. Tony and Niamh
Like a gift
Going to therapy was the best gift I have ever given myself. Siobhan, 31
Graham Matthews MIACP
I'm a professionally qualified Counsellor and Mindfulness Teacher working privately in South Dublin. I am fully accredited with IACP. From time to time, I blog about counselling related topics, mindfulness and other things that interest me.