Picking The Right Counsellor Birtley
Counselling can be an intimidating experience, for those experiencing it for the first time.
The relationship between you and your counsellor, is a private one.
Professionals are used to dealing with life's personal details, but you may not be so used to opening up in this way. Making sure you've picked the right counsellor can mean the difference between a few short sessions with an unsuccessful outcome; and lasting positive change in your life.
Finding The Right Therapist/Talk Therapist
A great counselling relationship, with appropriate boundaries, will be based on:
- Safety - If we don't have an underlying sense of safety in therapy, from the outset, it's unlikely progress will be made.
- Acceptance - Without the confidence that whatever we say, whatever interpretation we've given of a certain event, will be accepted, it can be hard to reveal much of our feelings, in order to get over them. You'll know you may have found the best therapist when they allow you to fully express what's going on, without feeling restricted.
- Collaboration - A strong therapeutic relationship is very much a team-oriented endeavour. As clients, we look to the professional in the room, to help gain new insights, and help us change our mind about the events of our lives. However, if you are not 100% open and honest with the therapist, results achieved may be lacking. A two-way understanding is needed, to enable the change you want, to actually happen.
- Consideration - Let understanding and appreciation flow equally between you and your counsellor, to help achieve a stronger counselling relationship. e.g. If your therapist works too slow - the lack of results can mean motivation reduces. But if they work too fast, it can feel awkward, or distressing. Likewise, as the client, a healthy respect should be maintained for the counsellor to guide you towards an appropriate resolution for each issue, no matter how painful that may be, in the short term. Take motivation from the small wins during initial sessions, as these can fuel you for later working through deeper issues.
- Active Listener - Thorough counsellors are accomplished at active listening. Attention should be paid by the counsellor, to what the client says, but more importantly, what is also not said - as context, and non-verbal cues can often speak more about the meaning a client is giving to a word or phrase - than the words themselves. Other times, the therapist may need you to listen - as they guide you towards seeing something from a different perspective. This can be challenging as we have invested a lot of time and energy in our pre-existing beliefs. We all have our stock responses for certain questions, that have become our usual responses, over the years. However, concentrating on the questions asked, and providing answers that are unfiltered, and represent your true thoughts and feelings, will help you achieve results noticeably better, than simply responding with what you think you should respond with.
- Empathy - Everyone, with no exceptions, needs validation in the human experience. A great counsellor can help you feel like your concerns are warranted and valid, and also help you realise even better meanings that could be drawn from the same events, that help you feel better.
- Hopeful - Most of us begin the counselling journey at a place where we do desperately need hope. Most commonly we've tried everything we can, on our own, to feel better, but were unable. How fast you see results from counselling varies from one individual to another - but it's not a sudden series of overnight wins - more like a gradual campaign of change. Take comfort and faith from the smallest of breakthroughs made during a session - and allow it to build your hope of even better breakthroughs, in future sessions. Hope is a trait we all need, whether we're undertaking counselling or not. To build hope from the start, ask your counsellor about their previous successes, in cases similar to yours. They won't disclose personal details, but the general picture they give you can help build confidence that this is a journey worth taking.
- Trust - The inner child, in all of us, seeks to protect us above all else. If the environment is not supportive of vulnerable issues surfacing, they will not be allowed to do so. In counselling, most of us reveal aspects of ourselves and our feelings, we don't reveal to anyone else, even family or loved ones. The impartiality of a third party therapist, can help us open up to heal previous hurts more fully than working with someone we know. We need to trust the counsellor not only with the hurt involved in a particular event we're working on, but also to navigate the counselling and healing journey as a whole. However, the therapist will not always be accommodating, like a friend. If you're to get progress from therapy, you'll need new perspective on the meanings you've given to previous issues. The therapist will challenge your opinions, to help you arrive at better perspectives. Our instinct, when we feel attacked in this way, is to retaliate - but be assured that these challenges are well intentioned, and are there for the purpose of helping you heal. There are two ways to make this easier - (I) do not tackle bigger issues in counselling until you've built confidence with your therapist by tackling small issues first; or (ii) look for a therapist who, from the outset, has longer experience, or more experience with your personal issues.
- Perspective - A key reason people attend therapy is they feel - stuck - with a particular circumstance or set of feelings. A counsellor can help you identify practical actions that may help - but more importantly - highlight new perspectives that help you feel better, too. There is a difference between challenging productively, and challenging needlessly. A good counsellor knows when one particular belief is causing problems in other areas, and needs to be challenged, and when another belief is secondary, and can be left alone. The difference is priceless, in the emotional peace a client experiences, over time.
Depression Counselling Birtley
Depression is an issue that presents us with a unique challenge - how does someone with depression, who feels unworthy of help, who may believe they cannot get better - seek help for depression? It can become a vicious circle all too easily.
Counselling can help identify and deal with the underlying issues and thinking patterns - your counsellor should help you recognise contributing issues and maintaining factors.
Depression can also respond well to other modalities and approaches, and your Doctor or medical professional may advise on exercise, dietary, and other changes that may help.
Our main page for depression has more information.
To check on costs and booking options for counselling in Birtley, call us direct on 0191 580 3700.
Anxiety Counselling In Birtley
Although not always the case, the main driver of anxiety, can be conditioning, rather than beliefs. This means, an association we've developed attached to a certain set of circumstances or events, that we've developed unconsciously.
In counselling you should be able to identify the roots of where the anxiety has started, and get help to overcome the day to day impact anxiety has in your life.
One off events in the past can also be the cause of more acute episodes of anxiety, such as panic attacks.
Deconditioning work can be undertaken with a therapist's help, to help untangle the meanings attached to an original event, and thus feel better about it - and less anxious.
Progress can be made on anxiety when we realise the fear is attributable not to the original stimulus itself - but what we thought it meant. Once we learn to make the distinction between the two, fear is usually lessened.
Long term relief from anxiety can only be gained once your therapist has the information they need. They may ask about how the fear state happens over time, how it manifests specifically, and your current coping mechanisms.
Find out more about counselling for anxiety, here.
Relationship Counselling Birtley
Every relationship goes through ups and downs, as part of the human experience. Contrasting viewpoints can arise as a result of upbringing, religion, schooling, or even simple generational differences. All of these can cause seemingly insurmountable issues, without help.
For romantic relationships, issues such as infidelity, differences over children, parenting, money, habits, and simply the busy nature of daily life can decay an otherwise strong and healthy relationship.
Counselling can help couples put aside differences and start learning and listening to each other, in earnest.
It often takes an impartial counsellor to help both parties in the relationship see the world from the other's perspective.
Sometimes a therapist can assist this understanding by helping you see how current patterns, relate to the past, and the previous episodes in life that each partner brings to the relationship.
Paying for counselling means getting focussed and attentive help targeting the most personal and life-changing issues humans go through.
Counselling for your relationship or marriage is available.
To enquire about costs or availability for relationship counselling, ring direct on 0191 580 3700.
Bereavement Counselling Birtley
Loss in life is usually related to a loved one or friend passing away. However, loss can be more subtle, yet just as profound, when it manifests differently. A sense of deep grief or loss can result from being unable to continue a favourite hobby, losing a pet project you've been working on for a while, or enforced retirement.
Some are just beginning the grieving process and don't feel able to grieve, or feel fully. Others are stuck in a longer term pattern of grief which can be harmful in it's own way.
Whether for long or short term grief issues, grief counselling can provide essential support that is often unavailable from other sources.
Get more info on our main grief counselling page, here.
For bereavement counselling costs and availability, call us on 0191 580 3700.
Anger can be both emotionally and physically destructive, resulting in emotional volatility but also physical expressions, when the emotions are too overwhelming.
If internal beliefs, or model of the world, is too restrictive, it can become all to easy to shatter internal ideas about how the world should be, thus resulting in an angry outburst.
Anger management teaches practical tools and techniques to manage anger or rage episodes in day-to-day life.
Rather than manage symptoms alone, counselling for anger issues is more likely to help by analysing how previous events in life have led to a pattern of angry behaviour, over time.
If you cannot attend therapy for practical reasons or don't have enough time, perhaps anger management would be enough. However the time invested in therapeutic work is usually well rewarded.
See our main page on anger counselling.
If you're struggling with anger, counselling may help. To book sessions, call direct on 0191 580 3700.
A one-off, acute traumatic experience can last only seconds, but the emotional impact can last for years or decades, unless help is sought.
A traumatic experience can be anything which sufficiently breaks one's "model of the world" - the beliefs, values, and perceptions we have about how the world works, differences between right and wrong, etc.
Where trauma is unresolved, an individual will often experience lack of interest in life, detachment, nightmares, and lack of social interaction.
A traumatic event can be a big, one-off, sudden, shock.
However trauma can also be much smaller, repeated episodes of emotional distress which, while no individual episode could be considered hugely traumatic, cumulatively add up over time, to aggregated emotional distress and difficulty.
Trauma counselling is equally suitable for both these types of distress.
We understand that seeking a counsellor for this type of work can be unnerving, and it can be especially important to find a counsellor who meets your needs and is sympathetic.
We have more info on trauma counselling options on our main page here.
Questions about trauma counselling? Ring us direct on 0191 580 3700.
Addiction can happen to us in a subtle way, in the background of our life, without us realising.
It's easy to establish a dependence on some means to cope, in the face of unusually high stressors, or an event we weren't expecting.
But, continuing to abuse this mechanism we've found, over time, can lead to an unhealthy dependence.
This can be a dangerous time - as too much overuse of one coping mechanism can convince us that the level of stress we're under - is ok.
While most present with an addiction to a substance like alcohol or drugs, an increasing number are developing behavioural addictions which could benefit from counselling, such as collecting or hoarding behaviour, viewing pornography obsessively, or compulsive shopping.
Counselling can help gain understanding on the underlying causal issues behind a pattern of behaviour in life. Addiction therapy normally includes work on both longer term patterns of addiction as well as trigger situations in the present moment of day to day life.
If you're thinking of addiction counselling, get your questions answered on 0191 580 3700.
Your First Counselling Session
Getting To Know Each Other
It's important agree the parameters of your work together, from the outset.
Pricing varies, especially for private counselling. Most therapists offer a complimentary phone chat, to see if you two might work well. Check if your first meeting carries standard charges or not.
What do you expect from counselling? Are you looking for the shortest possible fix? Or a longer exploration of underlying issues? Set the right expectations, before you begin. It's important to do this from the outset so that you understand each others' expectations, and the following sessions can focus on the counselling itself and not the practical elements.
Get Answers For These Important Questions
Getting answers to well chosen queries up front will help you make the right decision about what counsellor to choose.
What if I don't get results?
- Make sure you stay connected with your therapist, and share the same expectations about the practical elements, throughout. This also helps the therapist navigate your sessions together to be the most comfortable experience possible.
How many sessions should this issue take, in your experience?
- Bear in mind here that this is a very difficult question to answer, with no one solution, as it has so many (very personal) variables and dependencies built in - that are dependent on, for example:
- Elements from the past, that surface during treatment, that require treatment before the primary complaint can be attended to.
- More past events than expected, may be contributing to the pattern of the problem you're experiencing in the here and now. These events take time to process, and feel better about, and can slow the progress of the main issue you went to counselling for. Nevertheless, they are usually necessary to overcome, for best results.
- Two individuals can be attempting to overcome the same event. One takes much longer/shorter time than the other to achieve insights, and feel better. This is the human experience. There is no one fixed "speed" of emotional healing, and to expect this would be unreasonable.
For all these reasons, don't expect a concrete answer to this question - even a very experienced therapist will be giving you their best estimate, before therapy begins - there is no more accurate information available.
In terms of timescales, you both need to allow enough time to open up, access, and feel better about painful long term memories. A short time period in which to work together, can mean there is only enough time to open up milder issues. Whereas, a diet of long term therapy gives greater scope to make progress on deeper issues. As you might expect, the more events are opened up, the more they have to be closed down, when treatment completes. It's important to communicate clearly throughout counselling sessions, to make sure misunderstandings don't occur.
Do you have any specialities?
- Certain types of therapy carry with them, specific types of training or qualifications. Being prudent with pre-purchase questions like these, will help you ascertain which therapist it's worth taking the counselling journey with.
When will sessions start?
- Therapists are usually busy people, with little spare time between sessions. Getting logistics sorted out now, will help later.
Counsellors Available In Birtley
Our counsellors are self-employed and independent. Central Newcastle is home to most of our therapists, however we can usually arrange sessions in surrounding Tyne & Wear locations, like Birtley. Please ask if unsure.
Arranging Counselling Birtley
Get your counselling queries answered, and find out if we might work well together, by ringing direct on 0191 580 3700.
Our counsellors adhere to the BACP code of ethics and practice.
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