There has undoubtedly been a huge increase in people going for counselling in the last forty years or so.
We now seek therapy in a variety of ways – counselling, CBT, self help books, DVDs and online programmes, as we look to work through issues or go in new directions.
Many of us are finding that modern life is full of constant challenges. Our lives are busier than ever before and we are often juggling several issues such as work, health issues, change in family circumstances, bereavement, multiple demands on our time.
The current economic climate means we are working longer hours either in fear of losing our jobs or through covering roles for people who have unfortunately already have. Change in the workplace is ongoing and often immediate.
The pressure to appear in control is huge. Many do not want to talk about issues to colleagues, friends and even family for fear of being judged as not being able to cope.
As a result more and more of us are reporting feelings of stress, anxiety and depression as well as sleep disturbances.
N.H.S statistics indicate that 6.1 million people suffer from anxiety and depression in England alone.
The N.H.S Information Centre for Health and Social Care, in its 2011 Survey of Attitudes to Mental Illness found that 77% of us now agree that ‘mental illness is an illness like any other’ however 43% of us ‘would not feel comfortable talking to their employer about their mental health’. 88% of women (79% of men) felt that therapy such as counselling is an effective treatment for issues such as depression, stress and anxiety.
The Department of Health outlined the government’s commitment to talking therapy in “Talking Therapies a Four Year Plan of Action” which started in April 2011. Its aim is to give better access to therapy with more choice. It clearly recognises the effect of events such as the economic climate on us all.
We are now seeking counselling for a variety of reasons:
- Current or past life events – bereavement, redundancy, separation, abuse, loneliness, bullying, financial and work issues.
- The need to explore feelings and develop further – things are ‘not quite right’, we feel down, unsettled, anxious and there’s a nagging feeling that there is more to life.
- To explore a specific issue – a lack of confidence, stress management, stopping smoking, anger management.
There is now more transparency with regards to accessing therapy. Famous people such as Stephen Fry, David Bowie, and Patrick J Kennedy to name but a few have spoken freely about issues they have dealt with. This has opened up debates and increased awareness about the counselling process. Seeking counselling is no longer taboo.
Due to demand, it is becoming increasingly difficult to access support via the N.H.S due to waiting lists. People report having to wait for many months to get the support they need. Many prefer to seek counselling privately as they do not want details on their medical records.
Deciding who to work with is very important. Clients need to know who to trust and need to feel comfortable with their Counsellor in order to go forward – after all, highly emotive, confidential issues are often discussed. Most ethical Counsellors will offer an initial consultation, this gives you a chance to meet and find out how the Counsellor works and how they can help you.
The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is the umbrella organisation for counselling and psychotherapy and Counsellors who are members work to a strict ethical code of conduct. You can be assured that any BACP member has been through appropriate accredited training and extensive placement experience.
Whatever background we are from – whatever age, gender, culture etc, deep down we all share common concerns and worries. Counselling is a great way to get support within a non judgmental, safe environment.
As a Counsellor, it is an honour to be part of clients’ recovery and journeys forward and it is very encouraging that talking therapy is now recognised as a very credible method to aid recovery.
On a positive note, what is really amazing are the resources we all have deep down to go forward and grow. Facilitating a solution via counselling is very satisfying to client and Counsellor.