I qualified five years ago as a Person-Centred Counsellor and work in private practice with clients alongside my work with Aspire. People seek counselling for a wide range of issues including addiction, loss, depression, relationships, anxiety, low self-esteem, trauma.
Mental health is so important, equally critical to someone’s wellbeing as physical health and I’m delighted that in recent years it’s been given more prominence. High profile figures who speak about their own mental health challenges help to remove the stigma about seeking professional support, and that can only be a good thing.
We may have great family and friends around us, but there are risks to exposing our most precious feelings and thoughts, and that’s when speaking to someone who is totally impartial, non-judgemental and there to support us, can be the catalyst to finding a way forward. As a therapist, I find it hugely satisfying to work with people providing empathy and helping them to arrive at their own solution. It’s about really listening and giving an individual the time and space to explore so that they can find their own strength; sorting your own problems is massively empowering, confidence-boosting and restorative.
In my twenties, I went through a very low period and experienced suicidal thoughts. Although I had close family relationships, I found it hard to share what was really going on for me and I wish that I’d sought help. Counselling wasn’t on my radar at the time and I was lucky to get through it and make some changes that helped me heal, but I believe that if I’d had different support and been prepared to admit what I was feeling, I would have accelerated my recovery. Later in life, I found therapy invaluable in helping me to cope with the loss of my dad through cancer.
I became interested in becoming a therapist myself when I realised that a large part of the job satisfaction I gained through my role in learning and development revolved around opportunities to work on a one-to-one basis encouraging personal growth, as well as business skills. How we see ourselves influences how we behave, and this impacts on all our relationships – work and home.
The key thing to remember is that mental health is important because it affects the quality of your life. If you’re struggling, there is help out there.
If you are stuck on where to go for help, or if you would like to get help on behalf of someone else, Mental Health Foundation have created a page dedicated to helpful sites and phone numbers.
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