blog

more about

services

workshops

Search
  • marypascallcounselling

Welcome to blog 5 of 2022. Each month we focus on a topical theme of counselling therapy, which I hope will help you in your decision to seek therapy and support you on your journey.


Last week (9th to 15th May) was Mental Health Awareness week in the UK and the theme was loneliness. Most of us experience feelings of loneliness from time to time. Humans as a species are social beings and many societies suggest that frequent social contact is healthy and prevents loneliness. However, we are all different: some of us thrive on frequent social contact; some prefer occasional contact and can appreciate our own company. Being alone does not necessarily mean that you will feel lonely.

So what is loneliness?

Loneliness is a feeling of isolation or separateness that leaves you feeling dissatisfied with our experience - life doesn't seem to meet your needs. This can cause low mood which, if lasting for several weeks, may be diagnosed as depression. Continuing or chronic loneliness may be detrimental to our mental and physical health, and there is research that suggests chronic loneliness can impact longevity.

Loneliness is a feeling of isolation or separateness that leaves you feeling dissatisfied with your experience.

Although there can be a direct correlation between feelings of loneliness and limited social contact, there can be other causes. For some, a change in circumstances, such as starting a new job or course of study, getting to know a new place and new people, can generate anxiety and feelings of loneliness. You may feel lonely in a relationship or within a group, or a space you inhabit where you previously felt comfortable. Relationship breakdown, ill health, broken friendship, loss of a loved one, lone parenting or caring for a relative may also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.



Currently, due to the change in regulations in response to Covid-19, many of us are adjusting to new ways of working and socialising. You may be feeling isolated if you are working from home. Or perhaps you are returning to on-site working and feeling alone in the process.

You may have had infrequent contact with family, friends and acquaintances, or lost touch altogether, affecting your ability to reconnect.


So what can you do to address loneliness?

Consider what it is you want to change. You may be feeling lonely but becoming part of a busy social scene may not necessarily be the solution.


You may be feeling lonely but becoming part of a busy social scene may not necessarily be the solution.

Do you want more contact with family and friends? Do you wish to be more active and have more interests? Do you want to spend time with like-minded people? Perhaps you would like to be in a relationship or see a change in your existing relationship. Maybe you need a change of routine.


There are practical ways to address all of the above, but this will require some motivation

on your part. Take the initiative and reach out to others. Join a class, group or network. Attend community events. Try dating in a way that's right for you. Set yourself a goal.


If loneliness feels debilitating, speaking with a counsellor can help you to understand your feelings and take steps to move on and enjoy your life.

If you're unable to point to reasons for feelings of loneliness, it may be that stress, anxiety or a lack of motivation is an underlying cause.


Sadly, there is a stigma around loneliness, which may prevent you from reaching out to family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. If loneliness feels debilitating, speaking with a counsellor can help you to understand your feelings and take steps to move on and enjoy your life.


For information on counselling, follow these links to my past blog posts:


https://www.marypascallcounselling.com/post/online-or-telephone-counselling


https://www.marypascallcounselling.com/post/e-counselling-the-new-face-2-face

So, how does talking therapy work?



For more information on the impact of loneliness, the following links may help:


https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline


https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/get-help-with-loneliness


https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/loneliness/about-loneliness/


https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/unlock-loneliness/15-tips


https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/chronic-loneliness#when-to-see-a-doctor


https://www.bacp.co.uk/news/news-from-bacp/2020/16-july-we-welcome-new-report-on-psychology-of-loneliness/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hxl03JoA0








9 views

Welcome to blog 4 of 2022. Each month we focus on a topical theme of counselling therapy, which I hope will help you in your decision to seek therapy and support you on your journey.


When you opt for private counselling, above all you're paying for the opportunity to choose. You want accessibility, flexibility and more. But how can you get the counselling you want? This month we continue with your search for a counsellor in private practice.

Keep Time on Your Side

It's easy to underestimate the level of commitment required for counselling. The frequency and duration of sessions will not only depend on your preference, a counsellor will be guided by their practice or modality and an assessment of the issues that you wish to address. As a result, you may be offered sessions twice-weekly, weekly or fortnightly. These may be 45 minutes, 50, 55 or an hour and you will usually be expected to attend regularly and consistently for a fixed or open-ended period.


Consider your schedule as well as the counsellor's availability. If you need some flexibility around appointments, be sure to make this known.

So what does this mean for you? Consider your schedule as well as the counsellor's availability. If you need some flexibility around appointments, be sure to make this known. Don't be tempted to settle for a practitioner who cannot accommodate your needs. Opting for a counsellor who has a busy practice but will try 'to squeeze you in' when you are working a rolling shift is not ideal.


A certain level of comfortability is required for counselling to be fully effective. Try to avoid entering into an arrangement that is likely to lead to missed appointments or any stress around appointments. These things can happen but a regular occurrence may impede your progress. It won't help you to accept the offer of a regular 2 pm appointment when you know you'll

have to rush to collect your children from school.


Stick to Your Budget

The cost of counselling is a concern for many and is generally viewed as costly. However, the cost of private counselling in the UK varies across the country, with averages of between £10 to £70 per session (NHS 08/12/22). Be aware that some private practitioners charge the same or less than 'low-cost' counselling services whose charges may range from £15 to £45.


When you make the decision to begin counselling, you're investing in yourself. If you're struggling to justify the cost of private counselling, comparing it with other weekly expenditures may help put things into perspective.

When you make the decision to begin counselling, you're investing in yourself. If you're struggling to justify the cost of private counselling, try comparing it with other weekly expenditures. Looking at the cost of eating out, entertainment, social events, hobbies, subscriptions, health and beauty treatments, holidays etc., may help you to put things

into perspective.


That said, consider your budget carefully. Remember: modality will have a bearing on the number of sessions you may need to attend (see Part One https://www.marypascallcounselling.com/post/how-to-get-what-you-want-from-private-counselling-part-one) and will therefore affect the overall cost of your counselling. You could consider saving prior to beginning counselling, rather than budgeting weekly or fortnightly. Alternatively, it may help to know whether a prospective counsellor offers a sliding scale, concessions, fixed fees or a flexible payment arrangement. Don't be afraid to ask - most counsellors are used to such enquiries.


If you're considering fortnightly rather than weekly sessions, make sure you're prioritising your counselling needs. Seeing a counsellor fortnightly rather than weekly, in order to save money, may be counter-productive. A fixed number of weekly sessions may be more beneficial than open-ended fortnightly sessions.


Cost does Equal Quality

No matter the fee, you have the right to expect a good standard of counselling. Many assume that the price of an item, clothing, for example, reflects the quality of the goods or, at least, the popularity of the brand. It won't pay to use this approach when you're choosing a counsellor.


A counsellor charging £100 for an hour's sessions will not necessarily offer better quality counselling than a counsellor charging £50 for a 45-minute session.

A counsellor charging £100 for an hour's session will not necessarily offer better quality counselling than a counsellor charging £50 for 45-minute session. And remember: counselling is not just about the counsellor's ability; for counselling to be effective, you will need to fully engage with the process.


Got to Be There?

Accessibility is a practical consideration. Do you want face-to-face counselling in your local area? Or are you prepared to travel? If so, how will you get there? Do you require parking facilities? Any travel costs will need to be included in your budget. And what about the counselling premises? Are they accessible for you? If there are steps or stairs, is there a ramp or a lift? Is there an accessible toilet?


Online or telephone counselling may feel more convenient for a variety of reasons, including accessibility: you needn't be limited to counsellors in your area; appointments are easier to schedule when you don't have to take travel time into account; as you don't have to travel, you only have the cost of sessions to consider and you can have sessions in the comfort of your chosen space. That said, online and telephone counselling is not for everyone; opt for suitability rather than convenience.

All in the Detail

You may be required to agree to a written or verbal contract outlining limits of confidentiality, number of sessions, payment arrangements, cancellation charges etc. This is common practice. If you can, ask to see or discuss the contractual agreement before booking your first session. Some practitioners include a sample of the agreement on their webpage or will forward a copy to you before your first session.


If you're presented with a contractual agreement during your first session and you're not happy with the terms, raise this with the counsellor.

If you're presented with a contractual agreement during your first session and you're not happy with the terms, raise this with the counsellor. There may be room for change but if the counsellor is not open to discussion and the agreement does not work for you, move on, and continue your search. Agreeing to terms that you are not happy with now may cause problems for you later and could affect the counselling relationship.


Take Time to Choose

During your search for a counsellor, your decision-making process may be influenced by a sense of urgency. Try to remain aware of this and allow yourself time to cone to a decision. It may not be wise to settle for a counsellor who says: 'I don't usually counsel for anxiety', if this is what you wish to address. Let your choice be guided by your needs, preferences, the therapists credentials and any sound recommendations. All the best in your search!



Useful links:


https://www.marypascallcounselling.com/post/how-to-get-what-you-want-from-private-counselling-part-one


https://www.marypascallcounselling.com/post/how-do-i-find-a-good-therapist

https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/types-of-therapy/


https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/talking-therapies-medicine-treatments/talking-therapies-and-counselling/counselling/#:~:text=The%20cost%20of%20private%20counselling,and%20those%20on%20low%20wages.





















4 views

Welcome to blog 3 of 2022. Each month we focus on a topical theme of counselling therapy, which I hope will help you in your decision to seek therapy and support you in your journey.



When you opt for private counselling, you're paying for accessibility, flexibility and an opportunity to choose. But how do you get the counselling you want? This and next month's blog outline some key points to consider when searching for private counselling.


1. Identify the Issue

This may not be easy but try to identify what's bothering you: whether it's anxiety, low-mood, self-confidence, work-related issues or your relationship. Then aim to choose a counsellor specialising in this issue. This is even more important if you're wanting support for such issues as addiction, debt, disordered eating, domestic violence, to name a few.

If you're finding it difficult to identify a specific issue, try naming your feelings instead.

If you're finding it difficult to identify a specific issue, try naming your feelings instead. Describing feelings of confusion, overwhelm or loneliness, for example, should be enough for a counsellor to know how they may be of help to you. Part of the process of counselling will involve helping you to understand what underlies your difficulty.


You may be aware that your issue is multi-layered. Low-self esteem, due to your working environment and difficulties in your relationship, could be an example. In which case, it would be beneficial to seek a counsellor who can confirm that they have experience of working with all of these areas.


2. Choose a Modality

The main umbrellas of counselling therapy in the UK are psychodynamic, behavioural and humanistic, but there are many types of counselling and it can feel tricky deciding which modality would best suit you and the issue(s) you wish to address. You can seek advice from your GP or local mental health service provider. Advice and information is also available from the NHS, mental health charities and online networks.


Psychodynamic counsellors aim to help you identify patterns in your behaviour that are linked to past experiences and affect the present. Psychodynamic counselling is rooted in psychoanalysis. Dream Analysis and Free Association are techniques used in psychodynamic counselling. Therapy is usually medium- to long-term (25-50+ sessions).


Behavioural counsellors aim to offer techniques to help you change problematic behaviours. You will be supported in setting goals for yourself and there will be tasks to complete. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) are examples of behavioural therapy. Therapy is usually short- to medium-term (5-20 sessions).


Humanistic counselling focuses on your unique personal experience and perceptions. The counsellor aims to be genuine in their offer of empathy and acceptance, whilst supporting you through a process of change. Person-Centred and Gestalt therapy are examples of humanistic counselling. The counsellor and client may agree on a time-limited therapy or open-ended.


3. Do your Research
You can find counsellors via online directories, counselling bodies, health and wellbeing centres, mental health networks, local magazines and advertising, and recommendations. Experience, modality and qualifications all matter. If a counsellor is registered with a counselling governing body or reputable directory, you can check their credentials. It pays to do your research - take the time to read through counsellors' profiles carefully.

It pays to be thorough in your research - take the time to read through counsellors' profiles carefully.

If you can, make an initial enquiry by email or phone. If it is not evident that a counsellor is registered or you do not feel you have sufficient information, ask for details. Many counsellors offer a free consultation or an introductory session at a reduced-fee. If a practitioner does not offer a consultation, it would be wise to do your homework before committing your time and money to a first session.


Like it or not, presentation matters and how a counsellor presents could be a deal breaker.

Like it or not, presentation matters and how a counsellor presents could be a deal breaker. What do you make of a counsellor's profile? Is there a photo? What of their expression and demeanour? If they have a video, how do they sound? If the counsellor has a website or webpage, check it out. What do they reveal about their way of working and would this suit you? Can you imagine confiding in them?


4. Go for the added Extras
Despite the sub heading, some criteria may crucially affect your choice of counsellor, such as gender, race, sexuality faith, etc. Speaking with a counsellor of similar identity can sometimes feel reassuring. Or you may have reasons for choosing a counsellor who is dissimilar, in age or background, for example. Don't be afraid to prioritise your preferences and search accordingly.

You're going to be sharing difficult material in counselling; if you feel drawn to a counsellor early on, it will make things easier for you.


Remember: this is your therapy - get the counselling you want.


Be sure to re-visit for part two in blog 4.


Useful links:


https://www.marypascallcounselling.com/post/how-do-i-find-a-good-therapist

https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/types-of-therapy/


https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/talking-therapies-medicine-treatments/talking-therapies-and-counselling/counselling/


https://www.baatn.org.uk/find-a-therapist/


https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/how-to-find-a-therapist/


















17 views

Before continuing view terms of use and privacy policy here. Please note: your comments are visible