Defining Moments - Coaching & Counselling - North West UK

Attitudes have changed – it really is acceptable to seek counselling

Huge increase in Counselling Services

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.

8 Responses
  • Anne Morton

    This has given me the impetus I need to seek counselling. Very positive and encouraging.

  • Anon

    Mental Health issues are no longer a taboo subject and sometimes we all need a little help and support. Believe me its money well spent and the counsellors are fantastic as well!

  • claire

    Thanks for this article – its really informative and clarifies alot of things for me when it comes to seeking counselling for myself!

  • Anon

    As a diagnosed manic depressive of almost 40 years, there were so many times I felt lost as we “didn’t talk about these things”. How I wish I had someone like you to turn to. This article has opened my eyes and I will be much more willing to seek help when my next depression hits.

  • Karen

    Having been through a period of ill health myself I can certainly feedback that counselling is a really useful tool to help people get back on track and reflect. I believe more and more people are now using counsellors to get a perspective and support they need after such a life changing experience.

    Helen is a particularly gifted Counsellor, she is an excellent listener and has a unique perspective of issues people with cancer face, due to her experience with clients and her voluntary work at the Macmillan Centre.


  • Caroline

    This is a very refreshing and informative article, offering practical advice to anyone thinking of seeking the help of a councillor. Often, we just need to know that it’s okay to admit that we can’t solve all of life’s problems on our own.

  • Gill

    It’s great knowing that there are people out there that are not going to judge you whatever your problems are. Having suffered from depression myself I can honestly say that having counselling at a low period in my life really helped me! My counsellors were very positive and encouraging.

  • margaret

    helen is a wonderful lady who has inspired and enabled me to move forward in my life despite the difficulties i have endured, her caring and sensitive nature and the ability to empathise is a gift that she shares with others in order for them to recover,

    thankyou helen