January can be a time of reflection. On looking back at the past year and deciding whether you would like to make changes to your life. They can either be major decisions such as changing careers, reevaluating relationships or moving home or you may decide you would like to address an on going condition such as depression, anxiety or an addiction to substances such as alcohol or drugs. Therapy can also support you through sad and difficult times caused by a loss of a friend, relative or partner or if you are battling a life-changing or terminal condition.
Seeing a counsellor can be extremely beneficial in offering you an environment that is safe and non-judgemental, where you can talk through any issues that are concerning you with a trained professional who can explore options with you for change, or discuss techniques which can support you when you are feeling anxious, stressed or experiencing depression.
Therapy does not set out to fix or advise you on what you should be doing and the choices you should make. It is more about allowing you space to talk and think in an environment that is respectful of your decisions and encourages your opinions.
There are many counsellors and psychotherapists to choose from, it can be quite daunting to know who the right person is for you. Below are some tips on how to go about this:
- It is important to choose a therapist with relevant training and who is a member of a professional body
- Most therapists offer an initial consultation. During this first session it is important for you to feel safe in the environment and comfortable with the therapist. Ask as many questions as you like with regards to the therapists training and experience. It is vital that the person you choose is the right one for you. There should be no obligation for you to continue if you feel it is not right, however please don’t be put off trying. The relationship you have with your therapist is just as important as their qualifications.
- There are a number of websites such as The Counselling Directory that only list qualified therapists who are insured and are part of a professional body.
- If you are seeking couples or family therapy, ensure they are trained in this area, as different skills are needed when working with more than one person at the same time.
- Ask friends or family for a referral or recommendation
Seeing a therapist can truly change your life for the better. It is a commitment and an investment in yourself, which can benefit you in many ways. It can help you identify behaviours that cause you to repeat problems you encounter throughout your life, or help you navigate through the emotional turmoil of bereavement or divorce.
Maria Lonergan is a trained counsellor/psychotherapist with a practice in The High Street, Walton on Thames. She is experienced in working with many issues such as addiction, bereavement and relationship difficulties. She has a particular interesting in working with abuse including sexual, historical, emotional and physical.
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