learnaboutcounsellingCounselling is a form of talk therapy to help to overcome personal difficulties and works towards positive changes in a professional, safe and confidential environment.

Definition of Counselling
The British Association for Counselling (BAC), now the BACP, define professional counselling as: Counselling is the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self- knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources. The overall aim is to provide an opportunity to work towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully. Counselling relationships will vary according to need but may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insights and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others.

What should I expect to talk about?
Counselling or Psychotherapy can cover a lot of areas: how you are feeling now, what have you been doing to cope, do you have any physical symptoms, what are your thoughts and fears, is there any issues in the past that have caused you to feel this way or affect your thinking, to help see things more clearly, possibly from a different view-point and to help you recover from your emotional distress and mental health illness.

People can feel more comfortable talking to a counsellor or therapist
The role of a counsellor or therapist is to allow you to explore many aspects of your life and feelings, by talking openly and freely.  Counsellors are non judgemental and not emotionally involved like family or friends, who are likely to be emotionally involved and may have opinions and biases and a person may feel embarrassed or afraid to say exactly what they are thinking or feeling to someone close to them.  A counsellor gives you an opportunity to express difficult feelings such as anger, resentment, guilt and fear in a confidential environment.

How will counselling or therapy help me?
Professional counselling and support can help you to understand what has contributed to your emotional distress and mental health illness and will help you with your role as a person and as a mother.  It will help you deal with a variety of reasons why you are feeling the way you are now, ie unrealistic expectations of motherhood, rigid and controlling thinking, anxiety, incidents in your past that have affected your current thinking and emotional state or to deal grief and loss.  Counselling will provide assistance in your recovery, reduces confusion, allowing you to make effective and helpful decisions leading to positive changes in your thinking, emotions, attitude and/or behaviour.

Do I go on my own?
You should have counselling on your own especially at first and if needed some counselling with your partner andor family as this can be important to help improve understanding, communication and conflict resolution. It can also help for your partner andor family to know how to support you and aid in your recovery.

How do I get counselling or therapy?
There are various ways to organise to see a counsellor or therapist. Your doctor or health nurse may refer you to one or to a therapy centre or they may recommend a private counsellor or therapist that you have to contact for an appointment. You can search online or in the phone book for a private counsellor. You can contact Nurture and we will arrange for you to see one of our counsellors in your area.

It is important when selecting a counsellor to chose one that specialises in the area of maternal mental health illnesses like postnatal depression as they will be able to help you deal with your particular illness.

Counsellors do not all work in exactly the same way, and not everyone ‘clicks’ with the first counsellor they go to. Counsellors should welcome questions about how they work, and should be open to discussing whether they are the right person to help. It is important that you feel comfortable with the counsellor you see, so if after a few sessions you are still not entirely happy with them or their style you should either talk to them or you should look to see if there is another counsellor you can go to. It is important to remember that doing counselling or therapy can be a very emotional time and can take numerous sessions before you feel well enough that you don’t need to attend anymore, your counsellor may also tell you that they feel you are ready to move forward without anymore of their guidance.

Counselling is a confidential service. No information can be passed onto anyone else without your consent. All accredited counsellors have a supervisor so that they can develop as counsellors, ensure they are competent and doing the best for their clients so counsellors may also discuss their counselling work with their clinic supervisor to ensure high standards are maintained, again this is all in complete confidence by both parties. The only exception to this rule is if you, or someone else, are at risk of significant harm.

Read more on looking after your Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing.